To this day, Halle Berry is the only African American actress to win the Best Actress trophy at the Academy Awards for her role in Marc Forster's Monster's Ball. This is a fact that doesn't sit well with the actress who's taken risks, both good and bad, with her post-Oscar career. In fact, despite the fact that she's secured herself a place in the history books, she's rather disappointed.
The Guardian had a chat with Berry recently to promote the long delayed release of her film Frankie And Alice - a film that was was supposed to be released five years ago, but just came out last April. Apparently, Berry is disappointed that great performances by people of color aren't being recognized as much as they should be, but fortunately, she sees a silver lining.
I’m disappointed. I’m inspired though, when I see how many people of color are doing such good work out there. The quality and value of our work isn’t determined by an award. I would like to see more of them recognized, absolutely, but we all need to find the win in the work, and doing our craft. The real win is when we’re not just selling stories of color, that people of color can be in everyday stories. Where we’re not saying: 'These are the movies for black people.'
One such every day story is found in the plot of Frankie And Alice, which tells the story of a stripper battling Dissociative Identity Disorder, which has her in contention with a 7-year-old child and an older, racist woman for control of her psyche. Berry had meant for it to be a big Oscar pull for the actress, but it unfortunately never got off the ground. Which is a shame, because as mentioned in the remarks above, the story of Frankie And Alice wasn't merely trading on a story about race. Though racism did still factor into the themes of the film, it wasn't the main thrust of the narrative.
What makes Halle Berry's remarks even more interesting is the fact that another case of an Oscar winner having professional difficulty hit just a week ago. With Mo'Nique's remarks about being blackballed out of better roles in Hollywood, even after her Best Supporting Actress win for her role in Precious, Berry's call for recognition through opportunity is more relevant than ever. Otherwise, the awards that deserving actors like Berry and Mo'Nique have won do little to affect change in an industry that is once more under fire for its lack of diversity. Here's hoping Hollywood and The Academy take Berry's remarks into consideration the next time they head off to vote.
Frankie And Alice is currently available on DVD and Digital HD.