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 trophy.
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 View.
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.