The Gotham Film & Media Institute has announced that the late actor, filmmaker and activist Sidney Poitier will receive the Icon Tribute posthumously during the 32nd annual Gotham Awards ceremony taking place on Monday, November 28, 2022 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Nominations for the Gotham Awards were recently announced and the complete list is available here.
The Icon Tribute comes on the heels of the critically acclaimed documentary film Sidney, which had its world premiere during a Gala Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival and has since won Best Biographical Documentary at the Critics Choice Documentary Awards while also receiving nominations for Best Director and Best Biographical Documentary. Sidney honors the legendary Sidney Poitier and his legacy as an iconic actor, filmmaker and activist at the center of Hollywood and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Gotham Icon Tribute was conceived by the Gotham Awards Advisory Committee in 2021 to call attention to the boldness, artistry and impact of a filmmaker from a historically excluded community whose work has not been previously recognized by the organization. Playwright and filmmaker Kathleen Collins was honored in 2021 with the Icon Tribute.
Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute, stated: “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. While his loss will continue to be felt deeply, we were incredibly moved by the new documentary film Sidney which provides a fresh and powerful testimony to Sidney’s remarkable life and legacy, and is a timely reminder of his bravery, elegance, and dedication to the advancement of artists who paved the way for so many.”
The Gotham Icon Tribute will be presented by Emmy-nominated actor and Gotham Board member Jonathan Majors to members of the Sidney Poitier family along with veteran filmmaker Reginald Hudlin and producer Derik Murray of the new Apple Original Films documentary Sidney. Majors starred in THE HARDER THEY FALL whose cast received an Ensemble Tribute during the 2021 Gotham Awards, and he was nominated for a Breakthrough Performer award for his performance in THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO.
A trailblazing actor, filmmaker and activist, Sidney Poitier was the first Black actor and first Bahamian to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. After joining the American Negro Theatre in New York, he broke through in film with his performance in THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955). He starred opposite Tony Curtis in THE DEFIANT ONES (1958) and became the first Black actor to be nominated for an Academy Award. He would go on to win an Academy Award for his performance as a handyman assisting German-speaking nuns in the 1964 comedy drama LILIES OF THE FIELD. During this period, he took on several epic roles in films like PORGY AND BESS (1959), A RAISIN IN THE SUN (1961), and A PATCH OF BLUE (1965). In 1967, he brought his remarkable charisma to starring roles in three beloved films that each dealt with issues of race relations: TO SIR WITH LOVE, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. During the 1970s and 1980s, Poitier would bring his immense talent to the director’s chair. His directing credits include the hit films UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT (1974), a film he also starred in, and STIR CRAZY (1980), which starred Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. Poitier was appointed ambassador from the Bahamas to Japan, a position he would hold for ten years. He also served as the ambassador of the Bahamas to UNESCO and as a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company. Poitier passed away earlier this year in his home in Beverly Hills, California.
This latest tribute joins previously announced awards going to Gina Prince-bythwood, Michelle Williams and the cast of Fire Island.
The Gotham Awards Ceremony will take place on Monday, November 28, 2022 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. As the first major awards ceremony of the fall season, the Gotham Awards provide critical early recognition and media attention to worthy independent films and series and their writers, directors, producers, and actors with twelve competitive awards categories. The awards are also unique for their ability to assist in catapulting award recipients prominently into national awards season attention. The Official Automotive Sponsor of the 2022 Gotham Awards is Cadillac and the Official Water Sponsor is FIJI Water.