Sidney Poitier, the man who broke racial barriers in Hollywood

Sidney Poitier, the man who broke racial barriers in Hollywood

Born in the Bahamas in 1927, he spent his childhood there but moved to Miami and then to New York City in his teenage. When he was sixteen, he joined the American Negro Theatre. He landed his first breakthrough movie role in 1955.

Sidney Poitier had paved the way for the numerous black actors who later joined the Hollywood industry. He was able to break stereotypes and buried the age-old Hollywood ides that Black actors could appear only in demeaning contexts as shoeshine boys, train conductors and maids.

In 1958, Poitier received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, along with a nomination for BAFTA in the same category. It was for the movie 'The Defiant Ones'. Although he didn't receive the Oscar, He won the BAFTA. In all these achievements, he was the first black person to be getting them. His amazing acting skills were rewarded with an Oscar in 1964, for the movie 'Lilies of the Field', and he became the first black actor to receive this Award.

Poitier went on to act in several movies, a huge number of which were critically acclaimed. He had acted in movies like 'Porgy and Bess' (1959), 'A Patch of Blue' (1965) etc. "He continued to break ground in three successful 1967 films which dealt with issues of race and race relations: 'To Sir, With Love'; 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner', and 'In the Heat of the Night'. He received Golden Globe and British Academy Film Award nominations for his performance in the last film and in a poll the next year was voted the US's top box-office star." This happened during a time when segregation and racial discrimination was very much prevalent in the United States of America.

Among the numerous accolades that he had received throughout his acting career, some are – two Academy award nominations, ten Golden Globes nominations, two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, six BAFTA nominations, eight Laurel nominations, one Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) nomination, one Grammy Award and another Grammy nomination.

He was 94 when he passed away at California in the United States of America, on 6th of January 2022.

(Keywords : Sidney Poitier, actor, Hollywood, Oscar, award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Primetime Emmy, Grammy, racial, discrimination)

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