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Comment 25 FEBRUARY 2013

Oscars: Daniel Day-Lewis signs the history books with Best Actor hat trick

Daniel Day-Lewis flew flag for Great Britain and Ireland when he scooped his third Best Actor Oscar and cemented his place in the Hollywood record books.

Despite the momentous occasion, he was in the mood for a joke as he addressed the Dolby theatre: "It's funny, because three-years ago, before we agreed to a straight swap, I'd already signed up to play Margaret Thatcher. And Meryl had agreed to play Lincoln. That's the version I'd like to see."

He went on to thank director Steven Spielberg, his wife Rebecca Miller for "putting up with him", and the "beautiful mind, body and spirit of Abraham Lincoln." Daniel dedicated his historic win to his late mother.

 

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The star of Lincoln is the first actor to win three Oscar gongs. He won a statuette for My Left Foot in 1990 and There Will Be Blood in 2008.

Eight other male actors, including Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn, have won two Best Actor Academy Awards but Daniel has now confirmed his position as one of the all-time greats.

Regardless of whether his films translate into statues, Daniel, a passionate method actor, has consistently mesmerised audiences with powerful performances in films such as The Last of the Mohicans and Gangs of New York.

He originally turned down the part of Lincoln, but the film's director Steven Spielberg talked him round. Once cast, Daniel immersed himself in the character of Abraham Lincoln; he never dropped the American leader's rural Kentucky accent and insisted on being called Mr President at all times.

 

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With an Oscar hat trick rounding out Golden Globe and BAFTA wins, his dedication to the project has its rewards.

While the film world lauds his work, the actor can't see what all the fuss is about and is hesitant to talk about his Midas touch. He says: "I avoid talking about the way I work but in avoiding it I seem only to have encouraged people to focus their fantasies about me in an ever more fanatical way."

The Day-Lewis household is equally unaffected by its patriarch's mythic status. Daniel and his wife Rebecca Miller have been married for 16 years. The couple have two children Ronan, 14, and Cashel, 10. Daniel, 55, is also father to 17-year-old Gabriel from his relationship with French film star Isabelle Adjani.

He says his sons are completely unfazed by their dad's job. "They didn't even know what I was doing until a couple of years ago," he told The Daily Mirror after the Oscar nominations were announced. "In fact, my 14-year-old boy was asked what I did and he said, 'I think he's in construction'. That's how much they know!".

Hollywood is certainly aware of his stellar career and have honoured it by helping secure Daniel Day-Lewis' place in the history books.

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