Halle Berry says she's "disappointed" by the lack Oscar diversity in the years following her historic Best Actress victory, but she recognizes the significance of her win.
Recently, Berry reflected on her Oscar speech during an interview with Teen Vogue, and said that her triumph in 2002 "meant nothing" because it didn't seem to open the door for women of color in Hollywood, as she hoped it would.
Speaking with ET's Kevin Frazier at a pop-up screening of her upcoming thriller, Kidnap, at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Thursday, the actress clarified her comments explaining, "Of course it meant something, you saw me up there I was speechless."
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"I guess I'm just disappointed that there has not been another woman [of color] in 15 years that has stood on that stage like I did that night. That's just wildly disappointing for me," she added. "I hope that in the next years to come, someone else stands there and we continue to evolve and grow and that more projects are made for women of color because the more work we have, the better, [and] the more chances we have to be there."
One particular woman who has been taking Hollywood by storm recently isWonder Woman star Gal Gadot. Her superhero epic has raked in over $650 million worldwide and she's being heralded as a champion for female heroes in modern cinema -- and Berry couldn't agree more.
"Gal Gadot is setting the stage for women of all races, so good for her and good for Wonder Woman!" she exclaimed.
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Berry revealed she's really hoping that more women of color are able to "start producing and writing and directing. Not just being the dancing bear but making opportunities for ourselves."
Which is exactly why she's started to take on more behind-the-scenes roles, serving as an executive producer on recent projects such as her CBS series Extant and her upcoming project Kidnap -- in which she also stars.
For Berry, being an executive producer has allowed her a level of freedom and creative control that she's never experienced as an actress, and she absolutely loves to "be able to have a hand in who the director is, who the writer is, who is cast in the movie, how the story rolls out, how it's told."
"I really wanted to be a part of this, because I think it's about time for women to be empowered. For many years men have always occupied these roles," Berry said.
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That's also why she's so excited for the chance to star in Kidnap as well as produce. In the film, Berry plays a mother who goes on an action-packed revenge mission to rescue her kidnapped son -- and it's just the sort of part that allows her to turn the tables on typical gender roles in mainstream cinematic narratives.
"If the day has to be saved, usually it's on the man, or if it's [a family drama], it's the father. And that's great, but what this movie suggests is that mothers are also as fierce and as ferocious as men are," Berry explained. "That's why I wanted to be a part of producing something that was a positive image for women."
Kidnap is also Berry's first feature film role since her appearance as Storm in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past -- and according to the actress she made a conscious decision over the past decade to step back a bit from her career in order to spend as much time as she could being a mom.
"[Parenting] is a job and that's why the last decade I feel like I kind of have taken a backseat [in] my career," said the 50-year-old movie star, who is the mother of a 9-year-old daughter, Nahla, and a 3-year-old son, Maceo.
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"I've been with my kids and I think that's been really important," she continued. "Their childhood is fleeting and you only get one chance at being with your children during that time."
However, Berry feels she's learned how to find that balance between her full-time personal and professional obligations and she's excited to keep working on films that will help to empower: "I hope to do more producing and producing projects for women, especially women of color."
Her latest film, Kidnap, opens in theaters Aug. 4.
Check out the video below to hear more from the celebrated star about the importance of diversity in Hollywood, and the "heartbreaking" lack of representation at the Academy Awards.