Photo credit: DFree / Shutterstock.com
There was a lot going on at Sunday night’s Critics’ Choice Awards, but one of the highlights of the evening came courtesy of Halle Berry!
Not only did the 55-year-old Oscar-winning actress wow fans when she debuted a brand new Storm from X-Men-inspired hairdo on the red carpet, but she also made them and some fellow Critics’ Choice attendees (Lady Gaga was one of them!) cry when she accepted her prestigious SeeHer award.
According to The New York Times, the SeeHer award aims to honor women who push “boundaries on changing stereotypes,” while also furthering “authentic portrayals of women across the entertainment landscape”.
The award has previously been won by Viola Davis (2017), Gal Gadot (2018), Claire Foy (2019), Kristen Bell (2020), and Zendaya (2021), making Halle Berry the sixth recipient in the award’s short but very powerful history.
The actress and director began her acceptance speech – which quite understandably received a standing ovation when she was walking off the stage – by telling everyone about her experience with Bruised, the movie she not only starred in but also directed…
“The first time I read the script for Bruised… I realized the role wasn’t written for someone who looked like me,” Halle began, in reference to the film in which she made her directorial debut.
“So I went to the producers, and I asked, ‘Why not me? Why can’t it be a black woman?’ They said, ‘Why not?’ Later on, they told me, ‘Go find a director.’ And finally, I summoned the courage to say, ‘Why not me?’ They said, ‘Why not?’
“Finally, when the film came out, I asked someone what he thought of the move. He said, ‘I have a hard time watching a woman getting battered and beaten. It made me feel uncomfortable.’
“And in that moment, I knew exactly why I had to tell the story. I knew exactly the power of the story. Because I said, ‘If you had a hard time, if it made you uncomfortable watching that story, imagine being that woman, living that story.’
“I used to think if I could play the part of a white man, I was winning. Do you want to know why that didn’t work? Because if you didn’t know, I am not a white man.
“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 its beauty and all of its pain.
“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. Because you know why? We will write, we will produce, we will direct, and if we are brave enough, we will start in it, all at the same time!
“We will tell stories that capture us fully in all of our multitudes and contradictions. We are confident and we’re scared. We are vulnerable and we’re strong. We are beautiful and we’re bruised. We’re everything and all of it – and all at the same time!
“Because if we deny our complexity, 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.”
Wow – we understand why the audience got emotional listening to her acceptance speech!
Halle Berry wrapped up her speech by dedicating her award 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!” she concluded.