Halle Berry is opening up about “heartbreaking” feelings that have followed her historic Oscar win almost 20 years ago.
The actress brought her directorial debut “Bruised,” in which she stars as a MMA fighter, to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and opened up about her awards milestone during a virtual conversation Friday with moderator Amanda Parris.
Berry, who appeared on the festival’s video conference in a flowy black printed top, her hair up and seated on a white couch against a gray brick wall, reflected on the moment her name was called in 2002 for the best actress Oscar for “Monster’s Ball.”
“It was one of these out-of-body experiences,” said Berry. “I had really no real belief that I would win. Back at that time, the Golden Globe was the precursor for the Oscar and I didn’t win the Golden Globe. … So when my name got called, I really didn’t have a speech. I didn’t know what I was going to say. And my subconscious took over and I said what was on my spirit, what was on my heart.”
During her Oscar speech, Berry was overcome with emotion, calling the moment “so much bigger” than her and dedicated her Oscar to “every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance.”
To date, Berry remains the only Black woman to have won the best actress Oscar, despite strong performances from stars such as Cynthia Erivo, who was nominated this year for “Harriet,” or Ruth Negga, nominated in 2017 for “Loving.”
“The heartbreak I have is because I really thought that night meant that very soon after that, other women of color, Black women, would stand beside me,” Berry said. “So now it’s been 20 years and no one has. And so when Oscar time comes around, I get very reflective. I think, ‘Well, maybe, maybe this year.’ And it has become heartbreaking that no one else has stood there.”
“I’m blown away,” Berry said about the sale. “Our movie is a work in progress. We took a shot at submitting it to the festival but we still have work to do on it. COVID sort of slowed down our progress on it. … It’s been a struggle. So to get it bought at this early stage, it’s a thrill.”
Berry called “Bruised” a “classic fight film,” noting it’s morphed considerably since she first got ahold of it. “When I first read this script, it wasn’t written for someone like me, it was written for a 25-year-old white Irish Catholic girl,” she said.
“My job was to figure out how I could convince the producers who had the rights to this movie that they should let me reimagine it for a middle-aged Black woman and how I could play this fighter and how I could tell this story,” she chuckled. “That was a journey.”