LILIES OF THE FIELD (1963) B/W widescreen 93m. dir: Ralph Nelson
w/Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Lisa Mann, Isa Crino, Francesca Jarvis, Pamela Branch, Stanley Adams, Dan Frazer, Ralph Nelson
From The Movie Guide: "LILIES OF THE FIELD is a 'feel-good' movie that blazed new trails in the motion picture world. Not that it had any particular special effects or innovations in movies. It had no spectacular action or dance sequences and surely no violence. But it was a trendsetter in that it marked the first time that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ever awarded an Oscar to a black actor, Poitier. Poitier is an ex-GI roaming around the Southwest, taking odd jobs and seeing what there is to see when he stops at a small farm to refill his car radiator. The farm is run by five German nuns who immediately set upon him to help them with their manual labors. They are new to these shores and don't speak much English but the Mother Superior, Skala, convinces Poitier to stay a while and help work the farm that was willed to them. He fixes their leaky roof and they send up prayers in honor of the man whom 'God has sent.' Now, Skala asks if he will stay on to help with some other chores. Poitier is a little tired of his aimless wanderings and not much convincing is necessary, even though they prevail upon him to do a major project --- the building of a chapel. Poitier agrees, as long as they will supply the needed materials. He teams up with Nelson (doing double chores as director and actor), a contractor, and they start to build the chapel. Meanwhile, he donates his small salary back to the nuns to buy food and spends his spare time teaching them how to speak English. ... This was a small, low-budget picture that went straight for the heart and succeeded critically as well as financially."
In addition to Poitier's Best Actor Oscar, the film was also nominated for Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Skala), Adapted Screenplay (James Poe, based on the novel by William E. Barrett), and Cinematography (Ernest Haller).