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awards & nominations

Mandela and de Klerk (1997)

Sidney Poitier as "Nelson Mandela"

On June 12, 1964, political activist Nelson Mandela (Sidney Poitier) is sentenced to life in prison for treason against the South African state. During the years of his incarceration at Robben Island, Mandela rises to become the symbolic leader of black South Africa. Meanwhile, Mandela's one-time ideological foil, South Africa's white president, F.W. de Klerk (Michael Caine), puts into place reforms that bring an end to his country's decades-old policy of racial segregation: apartheid.

Emmy (Primetime) (1997) Nominated Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Screen Actors Guild Awards (1997) Nominated Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Sidney Poitier as "Virgil Tibbs"

African-American Philadelphia police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger), the racist police chief of tiny Sparta, Mississippi. After Tibbs proves not only his own innocence but that of another man, he joins forces with Gillespie to track down the real killer. Their investigation takes them through every social level of the town, with Tibbs making enemies as well as unlikely friends as he hunts for the truth.

British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1967) Nominated Foreign Actor
Golden Globe (1967) Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

A Patch of Blue (1965)

Sidney Poitier as "Gordon Ralfe"

When Selina D'Arcey (Elizabeth Hartman), a blind young white woman, befriends Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier), a black office worker, their budding relationship eventually leads to romance. However, once Selina's insensitive and abusive mother, Rose-Ann (Shelley Winters), finds out about Gordon, she becomes determined to keep the couple apart. With its stirring story of interracial love, this thoughtful film fittingly reflects the civil rights movement of the era.

British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1966) Nominated Foreign Actor
Golden Globe (1965) Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

Lilies of the Field (1963)

Sidney Poitier as "Homer Smith"

When traveling African-American handyman Homer Smith (Sidney Poitier) stops by a farm in rural Arizona, he is welcomed by a group of Roman Catholic nuns who have emigrated from Germany. Realizing that the farm needs a lot of work, Homer takes on a number of repair projects for the women, who are led by the headstrong Mother Maria (Lilia Skala). Impressed by Homer's kindness and strong work ethic, the nuns come to believe that he has been sent by God to help build them a chapel.

British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1964) Nominated Foreign Actor
Academy Award (1963) Won Best Actor
Golden Globe (1963) Won Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Sidney Poitier as "Walter Lee Younger"

This lauded drama follows the Youngers, an African-American family living together in an apartment in Chicago. Following the death of their patriarch, they try to determine what to do with the substantial insurance payment they'll soon receive. Opinions on what to do with the money vary. Walter Lee (Sidney Poitier) wants to make a business investment, while his mother, Lena (Claudia McNeil), is intent on buying a house for them all to live in -- two differing views of the American Dream.

British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1961) Nominated Foreign Actor
Golden Globe (1961) Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

The Defiant Ones (1958)

Sidney Poitier as "Noah Cullen"

In 1950s America, members of a chain gang are being transported through the South when their truck crashes. Two of the convicts, John "Joker" Jackson (Tony Curtis) and Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier), who are chained together, find an opportunity to escape. Jackson is white, Cullen is black and, at first, the men appear to be opposites in every way. But as they flee across the country, the two form a deep bond. A female landowner leads Jackson to make a difficult decision about his own freedom.

Academy Award (1958) Nominated Best Actor
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1958) Won Foreign Actor
Golden Globe (1958) Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

Edge of the City (1957)

Sidney Poitier as "Tommy Tyler"

Axel Nordmann (John Cassavetes) takes a job as a dock laborer and is continually harassed by his tyrannical supervisor, Charles Malik (Jack Warden). Malik knows a secret from Axel's past, forcing the young worker to endure his boss's torment. Eventually, Axel befriends Tommy Tyler (Sidney Poitier), an African-American co-worker with a managerial job. Tommy teaches Axel to respect himself. However, Malik, a racial bigot, is threatened by Tommy's confidence, and the situation turns violent.

British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1957) Nominated Foreign Actor

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