The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is naming its 10,000-square foot lobby for 94-year-old screen legend Sidney Poitier, the museum announced on Monday. The museum opens Sept. 30.
“It is an incredible honor to name our grand lobby — the nucleus of the Academy Museum, in celebration of Sir Sidney Poitier, whose legacy of humanitarian efforts and groundbreaking artistry continue to inspire us all,” said Bill Kramer, director and president of the museum, in a statement. “We are deeply thankful to everyone who supported this campaign, and to Sidney, his wife Joanna Shimkus Poitier, and their entire family for allowing us this great privilege.”
Said Joanna Shimkus Poitier in the statement, “Sidney’s tremendous impact on the motion picture industry, and on audiences around the world, is inseparable from the story of his longstanding, collegial relationship with the Academy. Sidney has always taken great pride in the Academy’s recognition of this work. To be honored now as the namesake of the Academy Museum’s lobby, the place of access to everything that lies within, is almost like receiving a second Oscar for lifetime achievement.”
The statement said the naming of the lobby was made possible through a campaign supported by Ambassador Nicole Avant and Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix and and chair of the museum’s board of trustees, the Perenchio Foundation, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey with major gifts from Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong, among others.
Poitier made his film debut in the 195O movie “No Way Out,” which was one of the first Hollywood movies to take on the issue of racism. Poitier is well-known for his roles in “The Defiant Ones” (1958, for which he received his first Oscar nomination, “Porgy and Bess” (1959), “A Raisin in the Sun” (1961), “A Patch of Blue” (1965), “In the Heat of the Night” (1967), “To Sir With Love” (1967) and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” (1967). He has also directed nine feature films.
He became the first Black winner of a Best Actor Oscar for the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field.”