AppleTV+ released the first trailer today for Sidney ahead of its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The portrait of Academy Award winning actor Sidney Poitier is one of two documentaries in TIFF’s Galas slate. (The other is the Canadian hockey doc Black Ice.) Directed by Reginald Hudlin and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Derik Murray, Sidney is an expansive portrait of the screen icon who broke barriers as a Hollywood man in the 1950s and ’60s. Poitier was the first Black actor to win an Oscar in a leading category, for 1963’s Lilies of the Field, a feat that was not repeated until Denzel Washington won for Training Day in 2001.
Washington appears in the documentary, along with fellow 2001 Oscar winner Halle Berry, who remains the lone Black performer to win Best Actress. Poitier received an honorary Oscar at the same ceremony. Other participants in the film include Robert Redford, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand, and director Spike Lee. The film also looks at Poitier’s activism in the civil rights movement, which went hand-in-hand with his performances in films such as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and In the Heat of the Night, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Sidney is Hudlin’s latest work as a director following the 2019 Netflix doc The Black Godfather, about kingmaker Clarence Avant, and the 2017 drama Marshall, which starred the late Chadwick Boseman. Hudlin’s work as a producer includes Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.