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Why Halle Berry (Not Will Smith) Presented Best Actress – The Hollywood Reporter


Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry was one of two presenters at the 2023 Academy Awards. Everything everywhere at once Star Michelle Yeoh with the award for Best Historical Actress.

It was a major moment at the 95th Academy Awards, Perry and Yoh for a number of reasons, including a change of presenter that was only possible due to an important event for the 2022 ceremony (and a running joke during this year’s awards ceremony).

Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress Oscar and the second woman of color to win the award. The honor was bestowed on her by Berry, who was the first actress of color and the first black woman to win in the category in more than 20 years.

Perry’s introduction was due in part to breaking with the Academy Awards tradition, which usually has last year’s Best Actor winner submitting that year’s Best Actress category. But the 2022 Best Actor winner is Will Smith, who was banned from any Academy Film events, including the Academy Awards, for 10 years after slapping Chris Rock on stage.

Michelle Yeoh accepts the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture

Michelle Yeoh accepts the Best Actress Oscar from Halle Berry at the 2023 Academy Awards.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Ahead of the ceremony, Best Actress Presenting Jessica Chastain — who’s been an outspoken advocate for gender equality in Hollywood herself — shared a… Entertainment tonight That while you weren’t in rehearsals for a Broadway play doll houseshe was “so excited because they told me we were going to get together,” before adding to Perry, who joined her for part of the interview, “I’m so honored to be doing this with you.”

Berry herself remarked during the carpet interview that coming out on stage with Chastain to present the Best Actress winner “will be a moment” and added that if Yeoh takes home the trophy, she’ll probably be the most emotional on stage. “If she does that, I’ll give her that,” Berry said before Yoh won. “If I did, I’d be an even bigger mess than she is now. Watch out.”

This shared sentiment for Yeoh’s win paid off and was eventually captured on stage by the Oscars broadcast cameras. It was a moment when Yoh said that behind the scenes it was important to Asian representation that “frickin'” broke that glass ceiling. “

“This is not for the Asian community, but for anyone who identifies as a minority,” she said. “We deserve to be seen. We deserve equal opportunity so we can sit at the table. That’s all we ask. Give us that chance. Let’s prove we deserve it.”

Yeoh’s comments reflected sentiments shared by Perry herself when she took to the Oscars stage for her monster ball Two decades ago — a moment she described as “much older” than herself while accepting her award. “It is for every faceless, faceless woman of color who now has an opportunity because tonight that door has been opened.”

The night was ultimately a real win for Yeoh and representation in Hollywood for the Asian community, but it could also be seen as a personal win for Berry, who lamented that no other woman had won in the category since her historic debut. In 2017, the lack of fellow color winners led Perry to feel her win “doesn’t make any sense.”

“That moment really didn’t mean anything,” Perry said. vogue fig. “It didn’t mean anything. I thought it meant something, but I guess it didn’t mean anything.”

And in a 2022 interview with GMA 20 years after Perry’s victory, she noted that she felt “very sad not to have another woman standing next to me in 20 years.”

She added, “I thought, like everyone else, that night meant a lot of things were going to change.” “To have other women. I thought I’d have the script truck to my door and have the chance to play whatever role I wanted. That just didn’t happen. There’s no other woman standing there.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.