Halle Berry at the 2016 Makers Conference Feb. 2, 2016, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Angela Weiss/Getty Images for AOL

Next month will mark the 14th anniversary of when Halle Berry became the first black woman to win an Academy Award for best actress for her role in Monster's Ball. During her acceptance speech, Berry could barely speak through the tears.

"This moment is so much bigger than me," she said at the time as she named other black actresses to whom she wanted to pay homage.


"This is 74 years here; I've got to take this time," Berry said as the show attempted to get her to wrap up her speech. "This moment is for all the nameless, faceless women of color who now have a chance because this door tonight has been opened."

Berry wasn't the only black person who took home an award that night. Denzel Washington won best actor for Training Day and became the second black actor to win the honor. During Washington's speech, he made a point to mention Sidney Poitier, the first black man to win the award, who was also being honored that night.

"Forty years I've been chasing Sidney [Poitier]. They finally give it to me, and they give it to him the same night," Washington stated.

On Tuesday Berry spoke at the 2016 Makers Conference, where she mentioned the most recent controversy over the lack of diversity in the nominations for this year's awards.


"Honestly, that win almost 15 years ago was iconic, it was important to me, but I had the knowing in the moment that it was bigger than me," Berry said. "I believed that in that moment, that when I said, 'The door tonight has been opened,' I believed that with every bone in my body that this was going to incite change because this door, this barrier, had been broken. And to sit here almost 15 years later, and knowing that another woman of color has not walked through that door, is heartbreaking. 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."

Berry's comments are reminiscent of the saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Fourteen years after that moment of celebrating her award win, Berry realizes that things really haven't changed.


Berry went on to say what she felt was the core problem in Hollywood and the film industry as a whole.

"It's really about truth-telling," Berry continued. "And as filmmakers and as actors, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. And the films, I think, that are coming out of Hollywood aren't truthful. And 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."


Since Poitier and the late Hattie McDaniel made strides in the film industry, becoming "firsts," it's a harsh reality to see that there are still talented people who can't even become the third, fourth or fifth because they're being overlooked.

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