Lilies of the Field. 1963. USA. Directed by Ralph Nelson. Screenplay by James Poe, based on the novel by William E. Barrett. With Sidney Poitier, Lilia Skala, Lisa Mann. 94 min.
An out-of-work laborer named Homer Smith (Poitier) aids a group of foreign nuns in attaining their dream by helping them build a church and learn English. Though neither task is insurmountable, things are complicated by the church’s unforgiving desert surroundings. Along the way, despite their cultural differences, Homer and the nuns cement a unique bond. Poitier became the first African American to win the Best Actor Oscar, and Lilia Skala received her one and only nomination—for Best Supporting Actress—for her portrayal of Sister Maria.