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Halle Berry made history when she became the first black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress and her acceptance was one of the most emotional moments in Oscar history. However, 15 years later, the actress has a very different reaction to the historic moment. When she won, she believed that her win would be a watershed that would lead to more women of color being recognized, but since no black woman has won in the last decade and a half, she now feels like her win didn't mean what she thought it did. According to Berry...
Wow, that moment really meant nothing. It meant nothing. I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing.
It's a fairly depressing perspective on the whole thing, but one that you can't help but understand. When Halle Berry accepted her Best Actress Oscar for Monster's Ball she dedicated it to other women of color who she believed now had a chance because the door had been opened. It took more than 70 years for the Best Actress Oscar to go to a black woman so you can't blame anybody for seeing that opportunity as being completely closed off prior to Berry's win. It's more than a little upsetting to hear Berry speaking at the Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity (via Teen Vogue) and hear that the excitement of the moment has faded to a feeling that it really meant nothing.
Diversity has been a significant issue within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for the last few years. After the Academy saw recent years in which not a single person of color was nominated for a major acting award, one can completely understand where that frustration comes from. This year's Oscar ceremony saw a marked improvement, and recently a large number of invitations went out to potential new members of the AMPAS, aimed at better improving the diversity of the organization.
While Halle Berry may feel that her Oscar win doesn't really mean what she once thought it did, she's not letting that keep her from continuing to try and do good. She says she's like to start directing and producing more because in those roles she can take steps herself to bridge the gap.
Black people, people of color, only have a chance to win based on how much product that we're allowed to put out, so that says to me, we need more people of color, writing, directing, producing, not just starring. we have to start telling stories that include us.
It may be taking longer than anticipated, but maybe Halle Berry will have a more positive view on her win in the future if she can take steps to help fix the diversity issue.