Halle Berry Looks Back at Her Historic Oscar Win, What Changed, and What Didn’t

Reign has paid close attention to the racial dynamics of the Academy since she founded the #OscarsSoWhite movement in 2015, when an all-white lineup of acting nominees sparked backlash and a major overhaul from the group’s membership. Since then, there have been signs of progress—MoonlightMahershala Ali’s Best Picture triumph, the two Academy Awards for supporting actor Mahershala Ali, a long-awaited screenplay statue for Spike Lee. But fundamental milestones have still been reached. Just last year, Judas and the Black Messiah became the first nominee for Best Picture with an all-black production crew.

Daniels, a double nominee, always compares the awards to a biased popularity contest. “What sets the tone for the favorite people at the party are mostly white male critics, who don’t understand my world,” he says.

Berry remembers thinking after his Oscar win, “Well, this is going to have to change my life now. Now I’m going to have to get more scripts and be taken more seriously. The reality was more complicated. “I was disappointed when I realized it wouldn’t do any of the above,” she says. “I won this award, and they didn’t back the script truck to my door because I won it. I became more famous, more people knew my name and I think my industry respected me. But my quest to find roles for people who look like me didn’t get any easier.

Reign was also struck by how little of a difference the focus on awards can make. “Have the sentence Oscar nominee Where Oscar winner after an actor’s name, or even behind the camera [person], does not open the door to marginalized communities as we would like, ”she said. “Yeah, maybe someone unlocked it, but it’s not much for people to come in as they please.”

Washington became one of the few Oscar winners for playing a villain, as he did in Training Day.by Warner Bros. / Courtesy of Everett Collection.

In a 2020 study, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that there was no significant increase in black, Hispanic / Latino, or Asian characters in popular films between 2007 and 2019. “The History of Racism in Hollywood is long and unforgivable, with the exception of black talent, silencing black voices and derailing black careers, ”said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, one of the largest racial justice organizations in the world. country. He cites the recent uproar within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a prime example: “These people didn’t want to go see television or see black talent or black designer films. “

Before and after her Oscar victory, Berry had to be her own lawyer: “I still have to go fight and convince people to come out of nowhere, to convince people to put a woman of color in a role that was not. written for a woman of color.

The Netflix 2021 release of Berry’s directorial debut, bruised, marked a new turning point in his career. She also starred in the movie, the kind of risk she took throughout her career, she says, even for Ball of the monsters. “Well, if it ruins my career, at least I’m ending my career on a choice that I fully believe, with all my heart,” Berry recalls, thinking of the 2001 film. “Playing it safe won’t get you. necessarily anywhere. You have to take risks. Especially if you are a black woman, you have no choice. You have to take risks. “

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