Halle Berry on Oscar Diversity Crisis: ‘It’s Heartbreaking’

Halle Berry Calls Oscar Diversity Troubles
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Halle Berry has opened up about the Oscar diversity issue.

Berry, who is the only African-American actress to have won an Academy Award for best actress, addressed the issue at the 2016 Makers Conference on Tuesday, where she called it the “elephant in the room.”

“To sit here almost 15 years later, and knowing that another woman of color has not walked through that door, is heartbreaking,” Berry said. “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.”

Aside from Berry’s 2001 win for her role in “Monster’s Ball,” only three other African-American actresses have been nominated, including Gabourey Sidibe in 2009 for her role in “Precious,” Viola Davis in 2011 for “The Help” and Quvenzhane Wallis in 2012 for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Berry, who in her acceptance speech said, “the door tonight has been opened,” believes the problem runs much deeper than just within the Academy; she contends the problem is industry-wide, and stems from film’s inaccurate portrayals of diverse characters.

“The reason they’re not truthful, these days, is that they’re not really depicting the importance and the involvement and the participation of people of color in our American culture,” Berry said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When you hear the backlash of racist comments (below) you know there is still a major, major problem. Do people know how they sound when they make these hurtful comments? What Halle Berry and others are speaking out about is the structural problem in the business that needs to be more inclusive of women and people of color. It’s not about golden awards (the final result); it’s about access to the jobs and opportunities, entry to the guilds and insider clubs, to the agencies, past the often all-white-male-gatekeepers, and into the groups (like the Academy) who make these decisions and whose members and membership help promote careers with awards and other activities.

  2. Jay says:

    Is she REALLY black? And where is her voice in the civil rights movement? A disparaging number of blacks are KILLED by thug cops… I haven’t heard a word from her. Maybe I missed it though, I’ll give you that. Anyone?

  3. Dee says:

    So it isn’t about diversity at all, it’s about one section of the population feeling disenfranchised with the loudest voices coming from those who have made millions and won awards. Diversity is not just about black and white or is it? And if you’re so concerned about people of color Halle, have you ever heard of Flint? Heart breaking? Are you kidding me? That’s heart breaking. Where is your voice in that world. I would wager that no one in Flint or most of the rest of the country, black or white, outside of your elite group of friends gives a damn about your statue or your concerns for those who aren’t going to get one this year because they didn’t measure up. At best it’s unfortunate but it is not heart breaking.

  4. Nanny Mo says:

    Are all minority actors racist? I used to see them and see only beauty and talent. I’m disgusted that successful people in modern America living the American dream and being successful can only see race! Shame on all of you! You are the ones that will never let our nation heal and move forward and now the Academy is aiding in making this wound linger. Academy members? Why can’t you see this? Save this noble organization before it becomes meaningless. Talent over race is the only way to show it!

  5. Neil says:

    What about winners Octave a Spencer and Monique?

  6. These people live in a flipping fantasy world ! Boo Hoo its not fair? Have they not looked out the door at life? Life itself is not fair. Besides there are worst things in life than not winning a FAKE GOLD academy award..Fall in a trap of fame “more, greed, awards. ego” Fame and Ego expecting awards. No wonder Marlon Brando didn’t attend those Ego Fantasy Events

  7. stevenkovacs says:

    As if everything would be fine in the world if they got that golden statue. Selfishness & shallowness knows no color, apparently.

  8. Chris Palmer says:

    what………………………..a crock,

  9. stan says:

    Heart breaking? Really? We have to have a number of Oscars that go to Blacks now? How about Asians or Latinos or any other race in America. Blacks are the most racist people in America. And who cares about the Oscars?

  10. Hilary Walsh says:

    It would be OK with me if there never was another accademy award given out to anyone.

  11. John Dartigue says:

    Besides Dorothy Dandridge for “Carmen Jones” (’54), what about Cicely Tyson for “Sounder” and Diana Ross for “Lady Sings The Blues” (both in ’72), Diahann Carroll for “Claudine” (’74), and Angela Bassett for “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” (’93)?! Short memory or poor research. (And maybe I’m as guilty for forgetting someone?) Doesn’t alter the fact that no African-American woman ever received an Oscar for Best Actress either before Berry or since. But it’s not enough to ask whether they were worthy of winning against the competition. Were there roles offered to black actresses through the years that would allow them to shine and win? Which takes us back to the nature and history of the American film industry. Yawn all you like, but there is a real problem for minority performers, be they African-American, Latino, Asian, Native American and more. Television has been much more inclusive; so maybe movies will soon follow. One can only hope.

    • John Lavery says:

      Black Americans, please get over yourselves already. The country is 67% white, and movies are generally made to make money, so they target the largest audience. I agree, Hollywood as an industry was run by whites for basically ever, and only time will change that. In the Navy and rest of the military discrimination was officially ended after WWII but it took two generations to see substantive change in the ranks especially at the highest levels , change happens slowly. I won’t even talk about BET or the other avenues that are blatantly reverse discrimination. It’s childish all this talk of boycott and social-justice. You want to protest, go to the inner cities and protest fatherless homes that guarantee the vicious cycle of no education, crime, and poverty will continue.

      • Seriously says:

        You’re a disgusting uninformed vomit, being polite as possible here.

        Since you’re into percentages you should research what percentage of the movie going population is black/Latino. Also, WHY would “targeting the largest audience” mean not inclusion_ OH YEAH, because time after time surveys show that whites don’t watch black/browns on screen (the reverse is NEVER a problem). Oh and, who OWNS BET/ALMA awards AND the list of whites to receive those awards. You’re not even competent enough to know about the economic benefit that comes along with the Oscars is what is fueling the issue. Oh and, poor education policies is what fuels poverty not the other way around!

        Reverse discrimination”…get serious! Stick to looking at pictures!

      • You get over yourself, you entitled kook. You don’t base awards on the percentage of the country you represent, otherwise in a few years you’ll never see another Oscar. Also, I can literally turn my cable channels for minutes at a time and never see another dark face, that kind of thing is ok with you, not ok with people who don’t look like you. And LOL @ the BET garbage debate, ONE channel that plays programming that might be inclusionary where 99% of other channels only decide that other types of people get seen on an ‘we decide whenever we want basis’. So much garbage. Also, ask Gary Owen, the white comedian who owns 3 stand up specials and regular features on BET if it’s the ‘black’ station, it’s the station that made him a star. So tired of the majority acting like the victim but at the same time demanding to keep owning every institution at levels that make no sense for anybody but them. Your incessant crybaby need to be the default everything is coming to an end and it can’t happen soon enough.

  12. Ken says:

    Tell Halle Barry that since she is 50% white she only opened the door half way. In fact she could leave Hollywood if she is so heartbroken.

  13. boone says:

    Before we go on about the Oscar’s being racist, lets look and see what performances by African-American actors and actresses in the past deserve a nomination and a win. Not making a point or anything, really looking for some examples.

  14. Bill Simmons says:

    YAWN. Next complaint from the “victim” crowd, please.

  15. fatalreview says:

    funny someone tries to hold Dorothy Dandridge as an example-Halle is this generations Dorothy-she is stunningly gorgeous and not very dark the perfect “bridge” for Hollywood to pretend it is not racist-just like Dororthy and why they did Carmen Jones in 1954-it’s on Netflix watch it it is so racist it will make you puke-like ALL Frank Sinatra films in particular High Society-that one is a serious afront to any black person and to any woman-anyway that Halle and Dorothy 50 years apart are the only ones just proves the Academy is seriously racist-and waving their 2 little almost “passing” token hot bodies up to say otherwise is just laughable-Ophra should start her own Academy Awards

  16. Emanuel Levy says:

    You neglected to mention in your list of African merican nominees Dorothy Dandridge, the first black Best Actress nominee, for Carmen Jones, Preminger’s 1954 picture.

  17. MrSatyre says:

    I guess Halle has never heard of the BET Awards? Not a single white person in the bunch.

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