Poitier is the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Poitier Plays Homer Smith, a traveling salesman who helps five nuns to build a chapel, in Ralph Nelson’s Lilies of the Field. Anne Bancroft presents the award.
Because it is a long journey to this moment, I am naturally indebted to countless numbers of people, principally among whom are Ralph Nelson, James Poe, William Barrett, Martin Baum, and of course the members of the Academy. For all of them, all I can say is a very special thank you.