Halle became the first and only black woman to date to win the prestigious prize in 2002 for her critically acclaimed performance in movie Monster's Ball. She dedicated the award to "every nameless, faceless woman of colour that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened".
But in a panel talk with Teen Vogue at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the Extant actress recalled the moment she realised her award “meant nothing” due to the lack of progress for women of colour in her industry.
“I don’t even remember where that speech came from, because I didn’t have a speech (planned),” Halle told Teen Vogue’s editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, recalling her emotional moment 15 years ago.
And when the 50-year-old discussed the 2016 Oscar nominations, which was blighted by the #OscarsSoWhite, controversy she revealed her sadness that it didn't open doors for others.
“I sat there and I really thought, ‘Wow, that moment really meant nothing. It meant nothing," she sighed. "I thought it meant something but I think it meant nothing. I was profoundly hurt by that, and saddened by that."
Since then Halle has channelled her disappointment into action, sharing that the Academy's failure inspired her to get involved in other ways such as producing and directing in order to create more opportunities for people of colour.
“I think black people... people of colour... only have a chance to win based on how much we’re allowed to put out,” she explained.
"That says to me that we need more people of colour writing, directing, producing—not just starring. We have to start telling stories that include us.”
Following the Oscars controversy The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences members took steps to increase diversity among its membership, pledging to double the amount of voting members who are women or people of colour by the year 2020.
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