Date: 25th March 2002
A weeping, shaking Halle Berry has become the first black woman to win a best actress Oscar, sending crashing a colour bar that has stood for 74 years.
She was swiftly joined last night (24 March 2002) by Denzel Washington,making them the first blacks to win both the best actor and best actress awards at the Academy Awards.
Berry, 33, a rising star but hardly a household name, won for her role as a woman overtaken by rage and frustration in the racially charged movie Monster's Ball, considered her best performance in a 10-year career.
With tears rolling down her face, and gasping for breath, Berry
dedicated her award to all the African-American women who had
struggled before her to make their way in Hollywood.
She told the star-studded ceremony, "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.
"I am so honoured, I'm so honoured, and I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which this blessing might flow." She emerged as a late favourite in a race that had been dominated by Nicole Kidman and Sissy Spacek until Berry proved the surprise winner of the Screen Actor's Guild two weeks ago.
Before last night, Sidney Poitier had been the only other
African-American to win a lead acting Oscar, getting the award for his 1963 performance in Lilies Of The Field.
Berry had earlier stolen the show on the red carpet, wearing a
daring claret coloured gown and sheer bodice embellished with
carefully placed beaded applique flowers and leaves.
See Full Winners List for The 74th Anual Academy Awards.