With the Oscars on the horizon—airing this weekend, in fact—it’s always fun to look back on noteworthy statistics and factoids that might make this year’s award race more fun! Or, not. Like the fact that on this day, exactly 20 years ago, Halle Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball. Huge victory; she was the first Black woman to win the award. But as of this writing (and for at least one more year given 2022’s all-white nominees) she remains the only one.
Even more damning: Fourteen white women each have more individual wins than Black women in total. Frances McDormand, alone, has three times as many trophies as all Black female winners combined. Yikes. (No disrespect to Frances’s performances, we loved them.) When Berry won, it felt like a watershed moment. A moment that would begin a trend. That no other Black woman has won since feels incredibly—and increasingly—damning. In fact, since her victory, no woman of color has taken home the award.
Speaking with The New York Times on the occasion of the anniversary, Berry said, “It didn’t open the door. The fact that there’s no one standing next to me is heartbreaking.” Even in 2002, Berry was not the odds-on favorite to win the trophy. Predictions indicated that Sissy Spacek would win for In The Bedroom, leading to a momentous, historic occasion, bolstered by genuine surprise. Even today it remains, perhaps, the best Best Actress speech ever.
This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
As Berry notes in her interview with the Times, the lack of trophies isn’t indicative of the great work being done by women of color—Black women in particular—in Hollywood. (Who could forget Gabourey Sidibe’s remarkable work in Precious? …Or how it lost out to Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side? Viola Davis in The Help? Which lost to Meryl Streep’s Iron Lady…) But again, to turn back to the statistics, there have been 95 nominations since Berry won her trophy in 2002 in the Best Actress category. Only seven (!) have been for Black women (Viola Davis accounts for two). And five of those performances were about Black women in famous civil rights battles. Not great!
Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, there are no Black women nominated again in 2022, a huge slight to both Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.
You can call it many things—racism, artistic preference, an issue of access—one thing is certain: The Oscars being white isn’t much of a shock anymore, and as the years go by, it’s hard to ignore that the white supremacy of the Academy’s voting record (and that’s literally what it is). Because a seven percent nomination rate and a zero percent win rate? It sure as hell isn’t happenstance.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io