It’s been 18 years since Halle Berry made history by becoming the first Black woman to win an Oscar in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category. At one point during her acceptance speech, the Monster’s Ball star said this award “is for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
However, almost two decades later, Berry is still the only Black woman to take home this trophy.
“I thought Cynthia [Erivo, the star of Harriet] was going to do it last year,” she tells Variety for its latest cover story. “I thought Ruth [Negga, nominated for 2016’s Loving] had a really good shot at it, too. I thought there were women that rightfully, arguably, could have, should have. I hoped they would have, but why it hasn’t gone that way, I don’t have the answer.”
Per the publication, Berry now feels conflicted about what her Oscar win represents.
“It’s one of my biggest heartbreaks,” she says to the magazine. “The morning after, I thought, ‘Wow, I was chosen to open a door.’ And then, to have no one … I question, ‘Was that an important moment, or was it just an important moment for me?’ I wanted to believe it was so much bigger than me. It felt so much bigger than me, mainly because I knew others should have been there before me and they weren’t.”
She also reflects on how she’d hoped her win would drive change. “Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me,” she tells the publication. “I was just continuing to forge a way out of no way.”