For the record books! Meryl Streep, Halle Berry and Jordan Peele are among the stars who made history at the Oscars throughout the prestigious awards show’s vast history. From the youngest winner to the most nominations, actors and films have made their mark on the Academy Awards in more ways than one.
Berry became the first African American woman to win best actress in 2002 for her role in Monster’s Ball. She gave a moving speech while accepting her award. “This moment is so much bigger than me,” she told the audience. “This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me: Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”
Fifteen years later, the Die Another Day star reflected on the accomplishment amid the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. “I sat there and I really thought, ‘Wow, that moment really meant nothing,’” she told Teen Vogue in June 2017. “It meant nothing. I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing.”
Berry called the revelation one of her “lowest moments,” adding: “It’s troubling, to say the least.”
Streep, for her part, long ago surpassed the record for most Oscar nominations earned by an actor. Therefore, when she received her 20th nod in 2017 for Florence Foster Jenkins, she reacted with a GIF of herself dancing.
Films have made just as much history as individuals at the Academy Awards. Parasite became the first South Korean movie to be nominated for Best Picture in 2020 — and later the first foreign-language film to win in the evening’s top category.
Bong Joon-ho, who also won for Best Director, expressed his desire for his work to open up a world of possibilities for similar projects. “Korean cinema has a long history,” he told Variety in November 2019. “There are many masters that have yet to be introduced to the Western audience. It would be great if people take more interest in Korean cinema due to my nomination.”
Scroll to revisit the most noteworthy record-breakers in the history of the Oscars.