Halle Berry admits she went through “Oscar curse” after Monster’s Ball win

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Winning an Academy Award is a career highlight for most actors and actresses but sometimes there can be a bit of a stigma attached to it. After you win, all eyes are on what you're going to do next or what you're going to be offered and if those choices don't live up to expectations, it can really derail the momentum of your career. Some have dubbed this the "Oscar Curse" and Halle Berry, who became the first Black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her gripping turn in 2001's MONSTER'S BALL, feels like she definitely experienced the curse. 

Berry did a cover story with "Variety" to promote her directorial debut BRUISED, which is set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this week and her career-defining moment was a part of the discussion. Berry admits that she thought her career would take off even more after the win but she admits that step to the next level didn't completely take place by saying "I thought, 'Oh, all these great scripts are going to come my way; these great directors are going to be banging on my door. It didn't happen. It actually got a little harder. They call it the Oscar curse. You're expected to turn in award-worthy performances." The actress went on to call the experience one of her "biggest heartbreaks."

"It's one of my biggest heartbreaks. 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. Just because I won an award doesn't mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me. I was just continuing to forge a way out of no way."

Berry was asked why bigger roles or more awards didn't come her way after her Oscar win and she says "I think it's largely because there was no place for someone like me." Keep in mind, she's still the first and only Black woman to win a Best Actress Oscar and it's still something she doesn't quite understand. Berry goes on to say "I thought Cynthia was going to do it last year (in regards to HARRIET), I thought Ruth Negga had a really good shot at it too (referring to LOVING). I thought there were women that rightfully, arguably, could have, should have. I hoped they would have, but why it hasn't gone that way, I don't have the answer.

It's not as if Berry didn't get sizable roles after her Oscar win but even they came with some caveats. Berry was cast as Bond girl in DIE ANOTHER DAY after winning the Oscar and the film proved to be financially successful, pulling in $431.9 million at the worldwide box office. Berry was then in talks to take her character of Jinx in the film into her own standalone project but the movie fell apart with Berry saying "It was very disappointing. It was heard of its time. Nobody was ready to sink that kind of money into a Black female action star. They just weren't sure of its value. That's where we were then." Berry seemed to learn then that not even an Oscar win could give you the necessary clout to get all your projects off the ground. 

Then there was the true misfire of her career, 2004's CATWOMAN. Berry admits that she took the role because the Jinx film didn't get off the ground and she thought it was a risk that could pay off because, at the time, it just wasn't a role offered to Black actors:

People said to me, 'You can't do that. You've just won the Oscar. Because I didn't do Jinx, I thought, "This is a great chance for a woman of color to be a superhero. Why wouldn't I try this?

As we all know, CATWOMAN was a critical and financial disaster that resulted in Berry winning a Razzie for Worst Actress (However, she gets props for accepting in person and getting some laughs for mocking her Oscar speech). She admits that it was another example of her not having the pull to make the project better, especially after she saw warning signs that it wouldn't be.

"The story didn't feel quite right. I remember having that argument: 'Why can't Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?' But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn't the director. I had very little say over that."

Despite the initial misfortunes that came after her win, I'd say Halle Berry has broken whatever "Oscar curse" she might've had. Last summer she appeared in the highly successful JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM and there is room for her scene-stealing character of Sofia to appear in future installments. She is also taking her directorial debut, BRUISED, to TIFF this week and at 54, the actress seems like she's mentally and physically at the top of her game. Whatever career bumps she has gone through, I'm sure she has learned from them and come out of them a much better person.

Do YOU think Halle Berry went through the "Oscar curse" after her MONSTER'S BALL win?

Source: Variety

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