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Halle Berry says her historic Oscar win is one of her 'biggest heartbreaks'

Her landmark Oscar win in 2002 has left Berry with conflicting feelings after no other Black woman has won best actress since her award for "Monster's Ball."
/ Source: TODAY

Halle Berry made history in 2002 when she became the first Black woman to win best actress at the Academy Awards, but she has conflicting feelings about it 18 years later.

No other Black woman has won the honor since her victory for her performance in "Monster's Ball."

Oscar Winner Halle Berry Winner Accepts The Best Actress Academy Award For Her Performan
No Black woman has won Best Actress since Halle Berry made history as the first in 2002 for her performance in "Monster's Ball." Getty Images

"It’s one of my biggest heartbreaks," she told Variety. "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."

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Berry, 54, thought "Harriet" star Cynthia Erivo had a good chance last year and that "Loving" star Ruth Negga was right in the running for best actress in 2016.

"I hoped they would have, but why it hasn’t gone that way, I don’t have the answer," she said.

The actress had to continue to fight for roles even after her historic Oscar win.

“Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me,” she said. “I was just continuing to forge a way out of no way.”

Berry also thought back to the night itself, when presenter Russell Crowe announced her as the winner. She thanked pioneers like Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge in an emotional speech that she said was improvised on the spot.

"The only thing I remember is somehow I was up on the stage, and I remember Russell whispering in my ear, ‘Breathe, mate. Breathe,''' she said. "Then I remember I turned around and saw all the faces and started talking."

Berry has recently become an action star, fighting alongside Keanu Reeves in last year's "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" and now directing and starring in "Bruised" about a mixed martial arts fighter who makes a comeback in the cage.

"I definitely feel like there’s a turning point," Berry said about directing for the first time. "I’m more encouraged that as women, we are feeling confident enough to tell our stories. And there is a place for us to tell our stories. For so long, our experiences have been told narratively through the guise of men."