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Oprah, Denzel Washington & More Explore Sidney Poitier’s Life & Legacy (VIDEO)


“He came to this Earth to move it.” Apple TV+ debuted the first trailer for its Sidney Poitier documentary, Sidney, premiering in select theaters and globally on the streamer on Friday, September 23.

From producer Oprah Winfrey and directed by Reginald Hudlin, the revealing documentary honors the legendary Poitier and his legacy as an iconic actor, filmmaker, and activist at the center of Hollywood and the Civil Rights Movement. Featuring candid interviews with Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Robert Redford, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand, Spike Lee, and many more, the film is also produced by Derik Murray, in close collaboration with the Poitier family.

Many of those interviews are featured in the Sidney trailer, above, which starts out with interview commentary from Poitier himself, who died on January 6, 2022 at 94. “The world I knew was quite simple,” the Oscar winner says. “I didn’t know there was such a thing as electricity or that water could come into the house through a pipe. I never thought about what I looked like. I didn’t know what a mirror was.”

The film tracks Poitier’s rise in American cinema, showing how his Caribbean upbringing primed him to be a radical presence in Hollywood and America at large. In 1958, Poitier became the first Black man to be nominated for an Oscar. In 1964, he became the first Black man to win one. And for much of his career, he was one of the only mainstream Black actors. But racism was an alien concept to Poitier when he first moved to the United States in the 1940s.

“I left the Bahamas with this sense of myself, and from the time I got off the boat, America began to say to me, ‘You’re not who you think you are,’” Poitier says in the video.

His defiance against that power structure is laid out both in old interview footage and commentary from the final years of his life. The documentary will also show his activist work during the Civil Rights era, during which he won his first Oscar. To this day, only five Black men have won Best Actor at the Academy Awards. The second was nearly 40 years after Poitier’s win, when Washington won for Training Day in 2002. (Washington’s first Oscar win was for Best Supporting Actor in 1990 for Glory.)

“He had big shoulders. He was given big shoulders, but he had to carry a lot of weight,” Washington says in the trailer. Berry, the first Black woman to win Best Actress at the Oscars, also comments on the actor’s legacy, saying “it was the first time I had seen a Black man assert his power.”

Sidney is produced by Winfrey, hailing from Harpo Productions and Network Entertainment. The documentary is directed by Hudlin and written by Jesse James Miller. Derik Murray also serves as producer. Terry Wood, Catherine Cyr, Brian Gersh, Paul Gertz, Reginald Hudlin, Joanna Shimkus Poitier, Anika Poitier, and Barry Krost executive produce.

Sidney, Documentary Premiere, Friday, September 23, Apple TV+



Read More: Oprah, Denzel Washington & More Explore Sidney Poitier’s Life & Legacy (VIDEO)

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