Sidney writes that he's felt like an outsider throughout his life, even when he won the Best Actor Oscar® in 1964 for his performance in Lilies of the Field—and he was the first black actor to receive the honor. "I am an outsider by instinct," he says at dinner. "I have always had a sense of myself as the observer, but I don't mind it. An outsider to me is the person who by instinct prefers to walk on the edge. So I've done it and I didn't fall off. I survived fairly okay."
Still, Sidney says he is always looking to improve himself as an outsider. "I am who I am, and whenever I am treated in a way that I feel is contrary to how I hold myself, I will defend myself by improving myself," he says. "The more I improve myself, the more of a man I become, the more of a humane person I become."