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    Halle Berry Can't Believe She's Still The Only Black Woman To Win Best Actress, And She Knows That "Catwoman" Wasn't Great

    "I wanted to believe it was so much bigger than me."

    Halle Berry has had a long and successful career, and made history in 2002 as the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.

    Halle Berry in Monster's Ball and at an event in 2019
    Lee Daniels Entertainment/ Paul R. Giunta (Getty Images)

    She won for her role as Leticia in Monster's Ball (2001).

    In an interview with Variety about her new film Bruised — which she stars in and DIRECTED, thank you very much — Halle called her historic win "one of [her] biggest heartbreaks,” because 18 years later, she's *still* the only Black woman to win Best Actress.

    Halle Berry winning her Best Actress Oscar
    Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

    Since 2002, a number of Black women have won acting Oscars for their incredible performances — Jennifer Hudson, Mo'Nique, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Lupita Nyong'o, and most recently Regina King — but they were in the Supporting Actress category.

    Halle told 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."

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    Five Black women have been nominated for Best Actress since 2002, and Halle herself believes that Ruth Negga's performance in Loving (2016) or Cynthia Erivo's in Harriet (2019) should have won the award.

    In the interview, she also discussed the obstacles she faced to get good roles after her win. "Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me.”

    Halle Berry as Storm in X-Men and Jinx in Die Another Day
    20th Century Fox/ MGM

    “I thought, ‘Oh, all these great scripts are going to come my way; these great directors are going to be banging on my door.’ It didn’t happen. It actually got a little harder. They call it the Oscar curse."

    Regarding Catwoman — probably her most infamous film — Halle said she took the leading role because "[it was] a great chance for a woman of color to be a superhero. Why wouldn’t I try this?”

    Halle Berry as Catwoman
    Warner Bros.

    No matter how you feel about the film itself, you really can't argue with that logic.

    She knew the plot of the movie wasn't great and discussed it with the creative team, asking, "Why can’t Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?"

    Halle Berry and Benjamin Bratt in Catwoman
    Warner Bros.

    You have to wonder what Catwoman might've looked like if Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) or Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) had been in charge.

    In her new film Bruised, Halle plays Jackie Justice, a middle-aged mixed martial arts fighter who decides to get back in the ring.


    Halle is no stranger to intense action roles, as evidenced by her superhero roles and her performance as Sofia in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

    Regarding the differences between acting and directing, she said that, “as an actor, I always show up and do my part, and I can only do what I can do. Being the director, I have a part in the totality of every department. I get to have a voice."

    Angela Weiss / Getty Images

    Personally, I can't wait to see Halle on screen again! And hopefully it won't take another 18 years for another BIPOC actor to win Best Actress.

    20th Century Fox


    You can read the entire interview here.

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