Halle Berry Pays Tribute to Women in Hollywood 'Telling Our Own Stories' at Critics Choice Awards

The Bruised director/actress received the SeeHer Award at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards on Sunday

Halle Berry
Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty

Halle Berry wants more women telling women's stories.

The 55-year-old actress, who made her directorial debut this year with her sports drama Bruised, received the SeeHer Award at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards on Sunday, aired on TBS and The CW. The recognition is for women who embody values set by the SeeHer movement, which advocates for accurate portrayals of women and girls in advertising and media.

Insecure's Issa Rae presented the award to Berry, who, in her speech, expressed the value and importance of women telling their own stories.

Berry began her speech by explaining that her role in Bruised wasn't originally written for someone "who looked like me" and she wound up tailoring the role to herself and taking on the project as director.

"[Storytelling] can raise our consciousness and help us think outside of ourselves and our individual circumstances," she said. "I realized that we truly need to see each other's reality — no matter how uncomfortable it makes us — so that we can stop judging and stop pointing fingers, but rather find compassion and empathy for the others."

"I've been in the business for 30 years, and I used to think that if I could play the part of a white man, then I was winning. But you know what, wanna know why that didn't work? Because, if you didn't know, I'm not a white man," said Berry with a laugh. "So, for those roles to work, they would have to be substantially changed. It would have to be written with the reality of my journey, in all of its beauty and all of its pain."

Continued Berry, "This is why I am so grateful to be standing and living in this moment where women are standing up and we are telling our own stories."

2022 Critics Choice

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"We will use our emotional intelligence and we will tell stories that don't fit preconceived notions. No, we will tell stories that see us fully in all our multitudes and contradictions. Because we are confident and we are scared. We are vulnerable and we are strong. ... We are everything and all of that and all at the same time!"

"If we deny our complexities, then we deny our humanity. We won't always be pretty, and we will never be perfect, but what we will be is always honest and true — no matter how uncomfortable that makes you. These are the stories we have to fight to tell, and these are the stories that the world needs to see. So, to every little girl who feels unseen and unheard, this is our way of saying to you: We love you and we see you, and you deserve every good thing in this world."

The honor comes just months after Berry received the People's Icon award at the People's Choice Awards in early December. Last year's SeeHer Award recipient was Zendaya.

In November, Berry spoke to PEOPLE about what inspired her to try directing with Bruised, in which she also stars as retired MMA fighter Jackie Justice who gets back in the ring after reconnecting with her young son.

"I was told a long time ago that if you're going to direct a story and be a filmmaker, especially your first movie, you best make it about something that you love and something you intrinsically understand," she said at the time. "And I love the fight game. I understand this world and I understand what it is to be a woman fighting to survive."

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"I know what it's like to make mistakes and want another chance," Berry added. "I know what it's like to hope for redemption and ask for forgiveness. These are all things that I understand very, very deeply. And those are the themes of this movie."

Bruised is now streaming on Netflix.

The 27th annual Critics Choice Awards, hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer, are airing live on The CW and TBS on Sunday.

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