Tuesday 12 December 2017

Halle Berry says her black actress Oscars first felt worthless after diversity failings

Halle Berry said one of her “lowest professional moments” came when all major Oscar nominations went to white performers.

Halle Berry remains the only non-white actress to win the top award (Aurore Marechal/PA)
Halle Berry remains the only non-white actress to win the top award (Aurore Marechal/PA)

By Sam Blewett, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Halle Berry has said the achievement of becoming the first black woman to win the best actress Oscar was made to feel worthless by subsequent lack of diversity.

She remains the only non-white woman to have been handed the accolade 15 years after she won for her performance in Monster’s Ball.

Berry in 2002 when she won the top award (Myung Jung Kim/PA)

In her acceptance speech, she dedicated the award to “every nameless, faceless woman of colour” and later added she hoped the moment had broken a glass ceiling.

But Berry, 50, has revealed that one of her “lowest professional moments” came when no black stars were nominated for major awards at the 2015 Oscars, a scenario that was repeated the following year.

“It’s troubling, to say the least,” she told Teen Vogue last week.

“It was probably one of my lowest professional moments because I sat there and I remembered that speech.

“I sat there and I thought, ‘Wow that moment really meant nothing’.

“I was profoundly hurt by that and saddened by that and it inspired me to try to get involved in other ways, which is why I want to start directing, I want to start producing more, I want to start being a part of making more opportunities for people of colour.”

She also said she had spoken to the Academy Award organisers to boost diversity within those who decide winners.

She said the 2015 Oscar nominations were among her ‘lowest professional moments’ (PA)

The focus should also be on getting more non-white people to produce and direct films, not just star in them, she added.

Berry won the accolade in 2002 for her portrayal of Leticia Musgrove.

Through tears, she told the audience that night: “This moment is so much bigger than me.

“This is for every nameless, faceless woman of colour who now has a chance tonight because this door has been opened.”

The “OscarsSoWhite” scandal was met with outrage and this year’s nominations were the most diverse in a decade.

Press Association

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