Best Actress

Apr 202013

In 1989, Berry moved to New York City to pursue her acting ambitions. During her early time there she ran out of money and had to live briefly in a homeless shelter. Later in 1989, her situation improved and she was cast in the role of model Emily Franklin in the short-lived ABC television series Living Dolls, which was shot in New York and was a spin-off of the hit series Who’s the Boss?. During the taping of Living Dolls, she lapsed into a coma and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After the cancellation of Living Dolls, she moved to Los Angeles. She went on to have a recurring role on the long-running primetime serial Knots Landing.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry / Anything L.A.

Her film debut was in a small role for Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever (1991), in which she played Vivian, a drug addict. That same year, Berry had her first co-starring role in Strictly Business. In 1992, Berry portrayed a career woman who falls for Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy Boomerang. The following year, she caught the public’s attention as a headstrong biracial slave in the TV adaptation of Queen: The Story of an American Family, based on the book by Alex Haley. Berry was in the live-action Flintstones movie playing the part of “Sharon Stone”, a sultry secretary who seduced Fred Flintstone.

Berry tackled a more serious role, playing a former drug addict struggling to regain custody of her son in Losing Isaiah (1995), starring opposite Jessica Lange. She portrayed Sandra Beecher in Race the Sun (1996), which was based on a true story, shot in Australia, and co-starred alongside Kurt Russell in Executive Decision. Beginning in 1996, she was a Revlon spokeswoman for seven years and renewed her contract in 2004.

She starred alongside Natalie Deselle Reid in the 1997 comedy film, B*A*P*S. In 1998, Berry received praise for her role in Bulworth as an intelligent woman raised by activists who gives a politician (Warren Beatty) a new lease on life. The same year, she played the singer Zola Taylor, one of the three wives of pop singer Frankie Lymon, in the biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love. In the 1999 HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, she portrayed the first black woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, and it was to Berry a heart-felt project that she introduced, co-produced and fought intensely for it to come through. Berry’s performance was recognized with several awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Berry portrayed the mutant superhero Storm in the film adaptation of the comic book series X-Men (2000) and its sequels, X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). In 2001, Berry appeared in the film Swordfish, which featured her first topless scene. At first, she refused to be filmed topless in a sunbathing scene, but she changed her mind when Warner Brothers raised her fee substantially. The brief flash of her breasts added $500,000 to her fee. Berry considered these stories to be rumors and was quick to deny them. After turning down numerous roles that required nudity, she said she decided to make Swordfish because her then-husband, Eric Benét, supported her and encouraged her to take risks.
She appeared as Leticia Musgrove, the troubled wife of an executed murderer (Sean Combs), in the 2001 feature film Monster’s Ball. Her performance was awarded the National Board of Review and the Screen Actors Guild best-actress prizes; in an interesting coincidence she became the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress (earlier in her career she portrayed Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American to be nominated for Best Actress, and who was born at the same hospital as Berry, in Cleveland, Ohio). The NAACP issued the statement: “Congratulations to Halle Berry and Denzel Washington for giving us hope and making us proud. If this is a sign that Hollywood is finally ready to give opportunity and judge performance based on skill and not on skin color then it is a good thing.” Her role also generated controversy. Berry’s graphic nude love scene with a racist character played by co-star Billy Bob Thornton was the subject of much media chatter and discussion among African-Americans. Many in the African-American community were critical of Berry for taking the part.[28] Berry responded: “I don’t really see a reason to ever go that far again. That was a unique movie. That scene was special and pivotal and needed to be there, and it would be a really special script that would require something like that again.”

Berry asked for a higher fee for Revlon advertisements after winning the Academy Award. Ron Perelman, the cosmetics firm’s chief, congratulated her, saying how happy he was that she modeled for his company. She replied, “Of course, you’ll have to pay me more.” Perelman stalked off in a rage. Her win at the Academy Awards led to two famous “Oscar moments.” In accepting her award, she gave an acceptance speech honoring previous black actresses who had never had the opportunity. She said, “This moment is so much bigger than me. This is for every nameless, faceless woman of colour who now has a chance tonight because this door has been opened.” One year later, as she presented the Best Actor award, winner Adrien Brody ran on stage and, instead of giving her the standard peck on the cheek, planted a long kiss on Berry.
Upper body shot of Berry dressed in brown and gold evening gown and holding an autograph pen.
Berry in Hamburg in 2004

As Bond girl Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson in the 2002 blockbuster Die Another Day, Berry recreated a scene from Dr. No, emerging from the surf to be greeted by James Bond as Ursula Andress had 40 years earlier. Lindy Hemming, costume designer on Die Another Day, had insisted that Berry wear a bikini and knife as an homage. Berry has said of the scene: “It’s splashy”, “exciting”, “sexy”, “provocative” and “it will keep me still out there after winning an Oscar.”The bikini scene was shot in Cadiz; the location was reportedly cold and windy, and footage has been released of Berry wrapped in thick towels in between takes to avoid catching a chill. According to an ITV news poll, Jinx was voted the fourth toughest girl on screen of all time. Berry was hurt during filming when debris from a smoke grenade flew into her eye. It was removed in a 30-minute operation. After Berry won the Academy Award, rewrites were commissioned to give her more screentime for X2.

She starred in the psychological thriller Gothika opposite Robert Downey, Jr. in November 2003, during which she broke her arm in a scene with Downey, who twisted her arm too hard. Production was halted for eight weeks. It was a moderate hit at the United States box office, taking in $60 million; it earned another $80 million abroad. Berry appeared in the nu metal band Limp Bizkit’s music video for Behind Blue Eyes for the motion picture soundtrack for the film. The same year, she was named #1 in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll.
Berry received $12.5 million for the title role in the film Catwoman, a $100 million movie; it grossed $17 million on its first weekend. She was awarded a “worst actress” Razzie award in 2005 for this role. She appeared at the ceremony to accept the award in person (making her the third person, and second actor, to ever do so) with a sense of humor, considering it an experience of the “rock bottom” in order to be “at the top”. Holding the Academy Award in one hand and the Razzie in the other she said, “I never in my life thought that I would be here, winning a Razzie. It’s not like I ever aspired to be here, but thank you. When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there’s no way you could be a good winner.” The Fund for Animals praised Berry’s compassion towards cats and for squelching rumors that she was keeping a Bengal tiger from the sets of Catwoman as a “pet.”
Berry at the 70th Golden Globe Awards

Her next film appearance was in the Oprah Winfrey-produced ABC TV movie Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005), an adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, in which Berry portrayed Janie Crawford, a free-spirited woman whose unconventional sexual mores upset her 1920s contemporaries in a small community. She was nominated for an Emmy for this TV film. Meanwhile, she voiced the character of Cappy, one of the many mechanical beings in the animated feature Robots (2005).

Berry is involved in production of films and television. She served as executive producer on Introducing Dorothy Dandridge in 1999, and Lackawanna Blues in 2005. Berry both produced and starred in the thriller Perfect Stranger with Bruce Willis and in Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio del Toro, the first film in which she worked with a female director, Danish Susanne Bier, a new feeling of “thinking the same way”, which she appreciated. Berry then starred in the film Frankie and Alice, in which she plays Frankie Murdoch, a young multiracial American women with dissociative identity disorder struggling against her alter personality to retain her true self. She was awarded the African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama.

Berry is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, earning $10 million per film. In July 2007, she topped In Touch magazine’s list of the world’s most fabulous 40-something celebrities. On April 3, 2007, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theatre at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the film industry. As of 2011, Berry’s worldwide box office gross has been more than 2.7 billion US$. In 2011, she appeared in New Year’s Eve. She played one of the leads in the film Cloud Atlas, which was released in October 2012.Berry has served for many years as the face of Revlon cosmetics and as the face of Versace. The Coty Inc. fragrance company signed Berry to market her debut fragrance in March 2008. Berry was delighted, saying that she had created her own fragrances at home by mixing scents.

Sep 062012

Angelina Jolie was born on June 4th 1975 in Los Angeles to an Oscar-winning father (Jon Voight) and an actress mother, Marcheline Bertrand. (Not surprisingly, she appeared in her first film at the age of 5.)

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie: This image is a work of a United States Department of State employee, taken or made during the course of an employee’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain per 17 U.S.C. § 101 and § 105 and the Department Copyright Information.

As a teen she tried modeling, appeared in music videos and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Later, she attended also New York University.
She began her career as an actress in earnest in the 90s. Her first huge achievement was in the role of Gia for which she’s won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. For her dramatic performance in 1999 Girl, Interrupted Angelina Jolie was awarded Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Jolie took interest in different genres as well and took on the role of Lara Croft in the successful Lara Croft franchise and starred in other action-adventure films including Taking Lives (2004), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005), and The Good Shepherd (2006).
In 2007, Angelina Jolie returned to drama in A Mighty Heart, the film about the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl. She’s gifted us with a tour-de-force portrayal of the pregnant during the crisis Mariane Pearl, Danny’s wife.

It seems that Angelina’s equally suited for roles as an action hero as for demanding dramatic roles. In the first case, our focus is on her beauty; in the second, her acting talent shines. (Since then Jolie appeared in several films and has produced and directed one as well.)

This much: now you know where she comes from and that she’s a successful actress. The rest of the story takes place in the context of her roots and career. She was born into an entertainment business family and continues her family’s tradition. As a working actress she didn’t grow up away from the limelight but in it. As an entertainer, she was surrounded by eccentricity and experimented with it. She didn’t date Bob who works at a fast food restaurant but her costars. That’s why her romances were better known than ours.

In the words of Angelina Jolie:
“I grew up in front of everybody, really. The big years of exploration. There was a certain madness I was going through. I learned a lot about myself. People tend to sum up times in your life and simplify. I would say there’s a way of being bold when you’re young that seems very brave… What’s perceived as tough is a very funny thing. I think to be a parent is one of the scariest, boldest things to do, as opposed to, um, getting a tattoo… Much more than jumping into a pool when you’re 20.”

She married her coworkers. At 19, she married Jonny Lee Miller (her costar in Hackers). The marriage lasted 4 years. In 2000 she married another actor, Billy Bob Thornton; they stayed together for 3 years. It appears that the marriage broke up over Angelina’s decision to adopt a child. She adopted Cambodian orphan (Maddox) and gave up on a husband unwilling to shoulder responsibilities of fatherhood. (As we all know she added another two adopted children to her single mother family.)
While filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2004, Jolie met Bratt Pit. The rest is history, it appears that the two are compatible: both have strong values and personalities, they raise the adopted children together and have added three of their own to the brood. (Steeling a husband? Please! Have you ever heard of a happy husband abandoning his spouse? Neither have I.)

Here you have it: a girl looked for love and found her true calling as a humanitarian in the misery of after-war Cambodia. It is there that she saved a child and found herself. It seems that Angelina Jolie has found her contentment with the right partner and with the family she created.

Here is another aspect of Angelina: after over a 7 year battle with cancer, Angelina’s mother passed away. Angelina was very close to her mother, the loss hit her very hard and further affirmed her commitment to her own family.

To quote Angelina:
“I’d like to believe that the people that have supported me in my work or identified with me in films, the people that feel they know me, they do and they don’t have misconceptions – they understand. I believe that.”

Angelina Jolie and Condoleezza Rice

Angelina Jolie and Condoleezza Rice during the World Refugee Day at the National Geographic Society on 15 June 2005. Photo: public domain

Angelina Jolie is as famous for her tireless humanitarian efforts as for being a movie star. Her dedication and compassion have been recognized: she’s been appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency in 2001. She fought hard for the rights of refugees and victims worldwide; she raised funds to end suffering and continually pours 30% of her income to relieve human suffering be it in Pakistan, Darfur, Cambodia or elsewhere. The United Nations Association of the USA bestowed on her the Global Humanitarian Action Award in 2005.

Angelina Jolie’s Journey to Cambodia (Angelina Jolie is the latest celebrity to pose for Louis Vuitton’s popular “Core Values” campaign.)

This is Angelina Jolie’s brief insight on her confrontation with refugees’ suffering:
“[on Cambodia and her humanitarian work] – One of the first camps I went to had 400,000 people. It was a sea of human misery. In Sierra Leone, I saw tens of thousands with their arms and legs cut off [by rebels], orphaned children. I felt completely overwhelmed. I cried constantly. I felt guilty for everything that I had. Then I realized I wasn’t doing these people any favors by crying. I kept getting angry at the injustices until I couldn’t think straight. I took a deep breath and focused on how I could help. I discovered that I was useful as a person. When I met suffering people, it put my life into perspective. It slammed me into a bigger picture of the world.”

This post has been written in the aftermath of Prince Harry’s nude romp in Las Vegas. For a while the spotlight of worldwide media focused on his nudity. Beats me. (Anybody who didn’t have a nude romp at some point, please stand up!) I don’t see why a picture or a video of Prince Harry in the buff is more attention-worthy than all aspects of his life combined. (Did you even know that he’s actively involved in many of the same charitable causes his mother was supporting?)
Why this departure from Angelina Jolie? Because the same seems to be true in her case. The tabloids feed on her every tattoo, every relationship, every eccentricity. Angelina Jolie is stunning, interesting, charitable, active and successful so the interest in her is certainly justified. The focus however is off.

Angelina Jolie is amazing because:

  • she’s an independent and powerful woman
  • she’s is an accomplished actress
  • she’s a very successful business woman
  • she’s dedicated to humanitarian causes (she makes a great deal of money and gives 30% of it to charity!)
  • she’s compassionate
  • she’s a licensed pilot
  • she leads an independent life true to her convictions
  • she’s inspirational
  • last but not least, she’s very beautiful: outside and INSIDE

If I were to say right now – following all of the above – that she’s just gotten a new tattoo and you’d run to get a similar one as opposed to supporting humanitarian causes, earning a pilot license or starting lucrative business, the problem lies with you. When all is said and done, it’s easier to lie on a tattoo table and spend a few bucks than stand up and fight for one’s beliefs or work hard to accomplish something of significance…. (You don’t have to be rich to be like Angelina, but it takes guts: volunteer to teach English as a second language or to help feed the homeless. Side effect? Beauty attracts people and the true beauty is HEART!)

A girl had to experiment to get things right. Angelina’s experiments may have been more extreme than our own but they paid off, the conclusions she arrived at are also above the average. The final product of her many experiments is a spectacular self birth, she’s an independent woman with guts and many achievements to her credit. A gorgeous woman and a beautiful human being.

Looking for inspiration? Angelina Jolie said:
“Love one person, take care of them until you die. You know, raise kids. Have a good life. Be a good friend. And try to be completely who you are. And figure out what you personally love. And like go after it with everything you’ve got no matter how much it takes.”

Forget the tattoo, try to become just ONE aspect of Angelina Jolie!