Oscar Winner Halle Berry Weighs In On The #OscarsSoWhite Controversy
The controversy surrounding the lack of African-American actors nominated for an Academy Award rages on with celebrities withholding their attendance and voicing discontent left and right.
Halle Berry, the only African-American woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Actress, is the latest Hollywood icon to weigh in on #OscarsSoWhite.
At this year's Makers Conference on Tuesday, the actress voiced her concern for the lack of diversity among the 2016 Oscar nominees, telling reporters she's "heartbroken" at the Academy's failure to progress following her win for "Monsters Ball" in 2001.
I believed that in that moment, that when I said [in my acceptance speech], 'The door tonight has been opened,' I believed that with every bone in my body that this was going to incite change because this door, this barrier, had been broken. And to sit here almost 15 years later, and knowing that another woman of color has not walked through that door, is heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking because I thought that moment was bigger than me. It's heartbreaking to start to think maybe it wasn't bigger than me. Maybe it wasn't. And I so desperately felt like it was.
Since that monumental moment, only three African-American women have been nominated for Best Actress: Gabourey Sidibe for her lead role in 2009's "Precious;" Viola Davis for 2011's "The Help," in which she plays the emotional role of Aibileen Clark; and a young Quvenzhané Wallis for "Beasts of the Southern Wild" in 2012.
In 2014, Lupita Nyong'o won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "12 Years a Slave." Her costar, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and "Captain Phillips" breakout actor Barkhad Abdi were also nominated that year, marking the last time African-American actors were nominated for major roles at the prestigious awards show.
The last 15 years have brought historic evolution of roles for not only African-American actors, but also women in film. The Academy's inaction in recognizing these changes draws attention to bigger issues at hand, namely whitewashing and quiet prejudice that continue to permeate the progression of cinema.
The noise surrounding the issue at this year's Academy Awards is expected to reverberate and bring change in years to come, but 2016 will go down in film history as another loss in the name of diversity.