In an interview with The New York Times released on Thursday, the first Black Best Actress Oscar winner expressed her disappointment that there had not been another since her win in 2002.
“It didn’t open the door. The fact that there’s no one standing next to me is heartbreaking,” she said, before adding, “We can’t always judge success or progress by how many awards we have. Awards are the icing on the cake – they’re your peers saying you were exceptionally excellent this year – but does that mean that if we don’t get the exceptionally excellent nod, that we were not great, and we’re not successful, and we’re not changing the world with our art, and our opportunities aren’t growing?”
Halle won Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball – a surprise win, considering she did not get the Golden Globe for the part.
In her speech, she said, “This moment is so much bigger than me. It’s for every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
It took eight years for another Black actress – Gabourey Sidibe for Precious – to even be nominated, and none have won since, with nominees including Ruth Negga, Viola Davis, and Cynthia Erivo.
However, Halle noted her Oscar isn’t as important as the work she’s been doing since, such as her 2021 directorial debut Bruised.
“Twenty years ago, a Black woman directing a movie about the fight genre? I don’t think I could’ve even wrapped my brain around it,” she stated. “That’s proof to me that things are changing.”