At the 2002 Academy Awards Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won Oscars for Best Actress and Best Actor in a landmark win for black stars. Halle Berry won the prestigious award for her role in the thriller "Monster's Ball". In the 74 year history of the Awards ceremony Halle Berry's Oscar marked the first time a black woman has won for "Best Actress in a Leading Role". Halle Berry, who beat Dame Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellwegger and Sissy Spacek was sobbing throughout her speech, and said: "This moment is so much bigger than me. This is for every nameless, faceless woman of colour for whom the door has been opened".
Denzel Washington, who won his Best Actor award for Training Day on the same night as Sidney Poitier won his honorary Oscar, joked as he said: "Forty years I've been chasing Sidney and what do they do - they go and give it to him in the same night." This was not the first time Denzel Washington received an Oscar, the star was also awarded an Oscar in 1990 for best supporting actor in the film "Glory". Among the other nominees for Best Actor was Will Smith for Ali. It marked the first time two black actors competed against each other in the "Best Actor" category.