On Sunday, February 14, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honored Sir Sidney Poitier (who celebrated his 89th birthday just a couple of days ago, with the Fellowship at the EE British Academy Film Awards.
Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA (essentially the UK version of the Academy here in the USA) upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games.
Fellows previously honored for their work in film include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker and Helen Mirren.
Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “Sidney is a luminary of film whose outstanding talent in front of the camera, and important work in other fields, has made him one of the most important figures of his generation. His determination to pursue his dreams is an inspirational story for young people starting out in the industry today.”
Sir Sidney Poitier’s award-winning career features six BAFTA nominations, including one BAFTA win, and a British Academy Britannia Award for Lifetime Contribution to International Film.
He was BAFTA-nominated for his performances in “Edge of the City,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Lilies of the Field” (for which he was the first African American to win the Oscar for Best Actor in 1964), “A Patch of Blue,” “In the Heat of the Night” and “The Defiant Ones,” for which he won a BAFTA and Oscar in 1959.
The EE British Academy Film Awards took place on Sunday February 14 at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden. Stephen Fry returned to host this year’s ceremony, which was broadcast exclusively on BBC One in the UK and in all major territories around the world.
Watch the 12-minute tribute to Poitier below: