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Sidney Poitier to Receive Tribute at Gotham Awards

Sidney Poitier is set to receive an icon tribute at the upcoming Gotham Awards.

The posthumous honor from the Gotham Film & Media Institute follows the feature documentary Sidney debuting at the Toronto Film Festival. The Oscar-winning actor, notable for films like Lilies of the Field, To Sir, With Love and In the Heat of the Night, died in January of this year at age 94 at his home in Beverly Hills, California.

Poitier will be honored for his achievements in Hollywood and his activism during the U.S. Civil Rights movement at the 32nd annual Gotham Awards ceremony, taking place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Nov. 28, with Jonathan Majors introducing the tribute.

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“Sidney Poitier’s extraordinary achievements as an actor and filmmaker across landmark independent films and studio features, as well as his inspiration and influence on filmmaking — particularly the way he changed the landscape of our entire industry — have been so greatly impactful to us and the collective of filmmakers that we represent here at The Gotham,” Jeffrey Sharp, executive director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute, said in a statement.

Poitier was the first Black man to win an Academy Award for best actor when he was acknowledged for his portrayal of a good-hearted handyman for Arizona nuns in Lilies of the Field. He received an earlier best actor nomination for his turn as a convict on the run in The Defiant Ones.

Poitier was also the first Black actor to become the nation’s top box office draw, attaining that distinction in 1967 when he starred in three memorable films: as a teacher in London in To Sir With Love; as Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs in In The Heat of the Night; and in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, where he played the fiance of a white woman.

The Gotham Awards honor indie film and TV achievements as part of Hollywood’s award season. Organizers earlier announced that Adam Sandler will receive a performers tribute at this year’s show.

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