Halle Maria Berry (born Maria Halle Berry; August 14, 1966) is an American actress. Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the romantic drama film Monster's Ball (2001), becoming the only woman of African American descent and the only woman of color to have won the award.
last year’s record heights, the highlights include four Black actors being recognized along with LGBTQ and deaf actors, as well as female and Asian filmmakers in the Best Director race.
In the Best Actor race, Will Smith is considered a major contender to become only the fifth Black actor to win the award for his performance as Serena and Venus Williams’ father Richard in the inspirational sports film “King Richard.” If he wins, he would join a list that includes the late Sidney Poitier, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker, and Denzel Washington, the latter of whom also earned his ninth acting Oscar nomination this year for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” The Best Supporting Actress race also sees Smith’s “King Richard” co-star Aunjanue Ellis among the list of contenders, along with Afrolatina star Ariana DeBose for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” DeBose is also an LGBTQ actress, making it the first time ever that more than one openly queer actor has been nominated in a single year as Kristen Stewart, who identifies as bisexual, was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in “Spencer.” To date, only nine Black women have won acting Oscars, with the first being Hattie McDaniel in 1939 for “Gone With The Wind” and Regina King the most recent in 2018 for “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Eight of those winners were for supporting roles, with Halle Berry being the only Black woman to win for a leading role with “Monster’s Ball” in 2001.
The Best Supporting Actor race also saw Troy Kotsur become only the second deaf actor to be nominated for an Oscar. In “CODA,” Kotsur plays a deaf fisherman who rallies his hearing peers together to form a workers co-op while his hearing daughter who translates for him.