The actress, who still has trouble finding good roles, wants to make a biopic of Angela Davis

By Tim Nudd
Updated February 27, 2015 09:30 AM
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Winning an Oscar doesn’t give you the keys to the kingdom. At least, it didn’t for Halle Berry.

The actress, 48, who took home the Academy Award in 2002 for Monster’s Ball – and remains the only African-American woman to win Best Actress – tells the Guardian that it didn’t pave the way for her to star in popular mainstream movies.

“If anybody tells you after winning an Oscar they can pick out things that will be hits, they’re lying!” Berry says in the interview, in which she touches on issues of race in Hollywood – and admits she’s “disappointed” that no other black women have won the top acting prize.

“I’m inspired, though, when I see how many people of color are doing such good work out there,” she adds. “The quality and value of our work isn’t determined by an award. I would like to see more of them recognized, absolutely, but we all need to find the win in the work, and doing our craft.

“The real win is when we’re not just selling stories of color, that people of color can be in everyday stories. Where we’re not saying: ‘These are the movies for black people.’ ”

Berry also says age isn’t a factor for her when it comes to finding good roles.

“I’ve always had a hard time getting roles, being of color, so I’ve got as many available to me as I’ve always had – there’s no difference for me,” she says. “When I was 21, it was as hard as it is now when I’m 48. For me, it’s the same.”

In Berry’s film Frankie & Alice, which is about to be released in the U.K., she plays a woman with multiple personality disorder. “If only five people see it, it’s worth taking the time to make the journey, to do the art,” she says.

As for her dream project? “I really would love to one day tell the story of Angela Davis,” she says. “I don’t think she wants a story of her life to be told at this time, and I would never do that without her blessing. But that has always been a passion of mine. She’s just fascinating: the era she lived in, the Black Panthers and all that they stood for, and her connection to it, or not to it. I have a lot of respect for how she lived her life.”