The first blacks to win Oscars for best actor, Sidney Poitier (1964), and best actress, Halle Berry (2002), grace a cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s 80th Anniversary “Legends Issue”, hitting newsstands nationwide on Friday. Check out a snippet below.
One thing Sidney Poitier didn’t have in his leading-man heyday? Paparazzi. But on this December morning, Halle Berry, being Halle Berry, arrives at Poitier’s Beverly Hills home with her 2-year-old daughter Nahla — and four lensmen on her heels.
As they exit the car, Nahla sees the men and begins crying; the audience Berry wanted for her daughter with Poitier doesn’t happen, as Nahla is whisked away by a nanny.
“Sidney is part of our history,” says a disappointed Berry, who otherwise seems unfazed. “He’s a legend, and one day I knew she would thank me for allowing her to be in his presence.”
And what a mark he has made. It was a watershed moment in Hollywood when Poitier won the best actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field in 1963, becoming the first African American performer to do so. His victory, preceded by an Oscar nomination five years earlier for The Defiant Ones (1958), happened before Berry even was born. As a child, though, Berry eventually saw Lillies. “Wow. I was, even as a girl, madly in love,” she says. (To which Poitier jokes, “Now you tell me!”)