As the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, Sidney Poitier was an icon and hero as much as he was an entertainer. Almost as important of an achievement, he became Hollywood’s top box office star just a few years later with In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and To Sir, with Love. All three films were not only popular, but all also dealt with race rather than ignored it. In time, Poitier became not just a black actor but also a great actor and won parts originally written for his white contemporaries. Poitier expanded his influence into the director’s chair and found a new comfort zone – and box office success – in broad comedy. Thirty-eight years after receiving the Oscar for Best Actor, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected Poitier to receive an Honorary Award: "In recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being."