Sidney Poitier’s Mister Tibbs voted best performance by black actor

Sir Sidney Poitier became the first black actor to win an Academy Award for his role in “Lilies of the Field.”

Sidney Poitier

Sir  Sidney Poitier has plenty to smile about.  Not only is the 89 year Bahamian-American actor, film director, author and diplomat slated to receive the African American Film Critics Association’s (AAFCA) highest honor, his performance as police detective Virgil Tibbs in movie “In the Heat of the Night” has been named the British public’s favorite by a black actor in a new poll.

The BFI asked the public to vote on a shortlist of 100 performances, encompassing both film and TV, and also enlisted a panel of 100 industry experts for a separate vote. Angela Bassett topped the critics’ poll for her portrayal of Tina Turner in Brian Gibson’s film “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and also came ninth in the public vote. Pam Grier came second in both the public and critics’ polls for her role  in Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation homage “Jackie Brown,” while the public placed Michael K Williams third for his role as Omar Little in “The Wire,” the only TV performance in the top 10.Guess Who is Coming For Dinner

Poitier will receive the inaugural Icon Award at the 8th AAFCA Awards ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.  The event will honor the life, career and legacy of Poitier and celebrate the 50th Anniversary release of his 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

“It is beyond a privilege for AAFCA to receive this opportunity to honor a man who epitomizes timeless excellence,” said AAFCA President Gil Robertson. “Throughout his career, Mr. Poitier has embodied values that the AAFCA community admires and strives to duplicate. He set a standard of merit through his craft and commitment to humanity that has been a great blueprint for all artists.”

Poitier became the first black actor to win an Academy Award for his role in “Lilies of the Field” in 1964. In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II conferred a knighthood on him. Although he does not use the title in the United States, he is known in the British Commonwealth as Sir Sidney Poitier.

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