Sidney Poitier to Get BAFTA Fellowship

Sidney Poitier

The actor will be presented with the British Academy's highest honor 48 years after it gave him his first major film award.

Sidney Poitier is set to receive the BAFTA Fellowship at the film academy's main awards ceremony, to be held in London on Feb. 14.

The acknowledgement on Tuesday from the British Academy comes almost half a century after it awarded Poitier his first-ever major prize, the best actor gong in 1958 for his leading role in The Defiant Ones, for which he would go on to receive an Oscar nomination. Poitier would receive five additional BAFTA noms, the last in 1968 for In the Heat of the Night.

"I am extremely honored to have been chosen to receive the Fellowship, and my deep appreciation to the British Academy for the recognition," said Poitier in a statement.

BAFTA chief exec Amanda Berry said the organization would be honoring "one of the cinema's true greats," and that Poitier was "a luminary of film whose outstanding talent in front of the camera, and important work in other fields, has made him one of the most important figures of his generation."

Previous Fellowship winners include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker and Helen Mirren. Last year, Mike Leigh was awarded the honor.