1964 Breaking News: Sidney Poitier is First African American to Win An Oscar for Best Actor!

On this day in 1964 Sidney Poitier was the first ever black Actor to win an Oscar for Best Actor. The oscar was for his role in the film Lilies of the Field.

More than an actor (and Academy-Award winner), Sidney Poitier is an artist. A writer and director, a thinker and critic, a humanitarian and diplomat, his presence as a cultural icon has long been one of protest and humanity. His career defined and documented the modern history of blacks in American film, and his depiction of proud and powerful characters was and remains revolutionary.

Born in 1927 in Miami, Florida, Sidney Poitier grew up in the small village of Cat Island, Bahamas. His father, a poor tomato farmer, moved the family to the capital, Nassau, when Poitier was eleven. It was there that he first encountered cinema. Even at a young age, he recognized the ability of cinema to expand one’s view of reality. At the age of sixteen, Poitier moved to New York and found a job as a dishwasher. Soon after, he began working as a janitor for the American Negro Theater in exchange for acting lessons.

For more on Sidney Poitier’s life and career head to pbs.org to read the rest of the article.

As a huge fan of Sidney Poitier and his works it fills me with pride to see how much he has achieved over the years. My first experience of his acting was the film To Sir, With Love and since then I have gone out of my way to watch as many of his movies as possible.

Here’s to over 62 years of Sidney Poitier and, hopefully, many more!

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