On April 13th, 1964, Jack Lemmon hosted the Oscars. This happened:
Sidney Poitier made history as the first black man to win a competitive Oscar, the first to win the Best Actor Academy Award. I'm still shocked that my parents' shouts of glee did not blow out the windows of our South Central L.A. home. Sidney's victory made us all feel so significant. Especially then. This was during the Civil Rights era. His victory would make many of us dream bigger.
Mr. Poitier was the first black man to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination. He earned it for 1958's The Defiant Ones. He next Best Actor nomination was for Lilies of the Field.
Hollywood took notice of his stellar acting skills as the hospital doctor dealing with racism in No Way Out (1950), the student in Blackboard Jungle (1955), and he starred opposite Dorothy Dandridge in the 1959 musical drama, Porgy and Bess. In that, Poitier's operatic singing voice was dubbed by Metropolitan Opera star Robert McFerrin, father of Bobby McFerrin. Along with other members of the original Broadway cast, Sidney Poitier reprised his stage role in the film adaptation of the landmark A Raisin in the Sun (1961) and he played the jazz musician composer in Paris Blues (1961) opposite Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll.
He would later direct. He directed dear friends Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee in the 1970 western, Buck and the Preacher. He also starred in the film. Ruby Dee had acted opposite Sidney Poitier in No Way Out and A Raisin in the Sun. She too reprised her Broadway performance in the 1961 film version of A Raisin in the Sun. I feel that the performance Poitier got from Dee in Buck and the Preacher should've brought her an Oscar nomination before the one and only one she did get -- Best Supporting Actress for 2007's American Gangster.
Mr. Hairston not only wrote the song "Amen" heard in 1963's Lilies of the Field, he dubbed the singing voice for Sidney Poitier. "Amen" was played when Sidney walked up to accept his Oscar. Jester Hairston was a regular on the 1980s sitcom called Amen.