Hot favourite Daniel Day-Lewis
completed a historic hat-trick as he took home the Best Actor
Oscar for his poignant portrayal of a battle weary Abraham
Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's civil-war set biopic Lincoln.
The win for the British actor, who played a brief role in
Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, did not come as a surprise as
he was strongly tipped to win. He had already collected the
Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and British BAFTA awards, in
the long award season of Hollywood ahead of Oscars.
Interestingly, the 'notoriously'-selective actor had
initially refused the role as he thought it would be proper
for an American to play Lincoln but once he agreed, Day-Lewis
devoted himself on painfully researching every little detail
about the 16th president for an year to bring out an intense
and touching portrayal.
"I do know that I've received so much more than my
fortune. Three years go, I'd actually been committed to play
Margaret Thatcher and my role was Steven's first choice for
Lincoln... My fellow nominees, my equals, I'm so proud... I'd
like to thank Kathleen Kenndey, our producer. I owe this to
three men - Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg and the spirit of
Abraham lincoln," he said while accepting the best actor
Day-Lewis plays Lincoln prior to his assassination in
1865. As the four-year-old Civil War continues to rage, the
president struggles to bring a constitutional amendment to
abolish slavery and end the carnage on the battlefield.
He is a five time Academy-award nominee. With his
latest trophy, he has become the first man to win three Oscars
in the leading actor category.
He has previously won the Oscars for playing cerebral
palsy suffering author and painter Christy Brown in My Left
Foot (1989) and in 2007 for portraying an ambitious and
misanthropic oil baron in There Will Be Blood. He was also
nominated for In The Name of the Father (1993) and Gangs of
New York in 2002.
Day-Lewis was born in London on April 29, 1957, to poet
Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis and actress Jill Balcon. Day-Lewis
picked up acting from his mother's side but his approach
towards it seems inspired by his father.
He likes to immerse himself completely in his roles,
staying in costume and in character for the entire shooting
period, something that has earned him notoriety and awe in
equal measures in his 30-year-old career. If not acting,
Day-Lewis spends his time in carpentry, which is another great
passion of his.
Day-Lewis made his debut with a small part in John
Schlesinger's Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971). He followed it
with an acting training at Bristol Old Vic.
After working in theatre for almost a decade, he made his
second appearance as a street thug in Gandhi (1982).
There was no looking back for the actor after that. He
made the critics sit and take notice with his two completely
different roles -- as a gay street punk in My Beautiful
Laundrette and stuffy Edwardian suitor in A Room With a
Two years later, he was cast in Philip Kaufman's
adaptation of Milan Kundera's celebrated novel The Unbearable
Lightness of Being, which he capped with his Oscar-winning
performance of the cerebral palsy-stricken Christy Brown in
Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot (1989).
He returned to stage again but his second theatre stint
was not successful. The Richard Eyre's National Theatre
production of Hamlet ended abruptly when Day-Lewis walked
off the stage one night, mid-performance, due to nervous
exhaustion. He never returned to stage after the incident.
The incident also saw him taking a break from movies
until 1992. He made a successful return with Last of the
Mohicans. He reunited with director Sheridan for In the Name
of the Father to play an Irish man wrongly convicted of
taking part in an IRA bombing. His third film with Sheridan
was The Boxer in 1996.
Day-Lewis starred in Martin Scorsese's adaptation of
Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence in 1993 before taking
up Nicholas Hytner's film adaptation of Arthur Miller's The
Crucible in 1996. He met his wife, Rebecca Miller, the
author's daughter during this film.
After The Boxer, Day-Lewis went on another self-imposed
acting exile apparently. Not much is known about this period
of his life but it is believed that he took up cobbling after
being fascinated by shoe-making in Italy.
He was convinced to return in front of the camera by
Leonardo DiCaprio and Scorsese to play Bill the Butcher in
Gangs of New York.
After Gangs of New York, he was directed by his wife in the drama
The Ballad of Jack & Rose but it was the portrayal of Daniel
Plainview, an ambitious, misanthropic oil baron in Paul Thomas
Anderson's There Will Be Blood that saw him dominating the
award season once again, including the best actor Oscar.
In 2009, he played film director Guido Contini in the
movie adaptation of Nine.
Spielberg's offer for Day-Lewis to play the 16th US
President came in 2010.