Since the first Academy Award for Best Actress was handed out in 1929, only one Black woman has won the award: Halle Berry for her performance in Monster’s Ball. That’s it. Gwyneth Paltrow has many Oscars as every Black woman in Hollywood history! The same year Berry starred in Monster’s Ball, she was also in Die Another Day, one of the biggest hits of 2002. She should have been on the A-list, up there with Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, and other white guys not named Tom, but instead, there was Catwoman, and Gothika, and voicing a robot named Cappy (not to be confused with Chappie) in Robots. She wasn’t intentionally making terrible movies — they were the only roles being offered.
“I think it’s largely because there was no place for someone like me,” Berry told Variety. “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. You’re expected to turn in award-worthy performances.” The John Wick: Chapter 3 star called winning the Oscar one of her “biggest heartbreaks”:
“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. Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me.”
Berry was cast in Moonfall, a Roland Emmerich-helmed sci-fi epic also starring Patrick Wilson, Josh Gad, and numerous explosions, but she also made her directorial debut in Bruised. The sports drama, about a disgraced MMA fighter (also played by Berry), has its world premiere later this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.