The great Daniel Day Lewis on receiving his third best actor Oscar award at the 2013 Oscar awards.

The great Daniel Day Lewis on receiving his third best actor Oscar award at the 2013 Oscar awards.

The great acting guru Lee Strasberg once famously commented about acting that “The human being who acts is the human being who lives” and, if there is any actor who perfectly reflects this statement in world cinema today it is none other than the great Daniel Day Lewis. With a record third best actor’s award for playing the role of Abraham Lincoln in the Spielberg masterpiece Lincoln in the recently concluded Oscars he certainly has stamped his true class as an artist on a world stage.

The journey of this genius of an artist began in London England where he was born to a poet Cecil Day Lewis and actress Jill Balcon. What makes the background of this actor interesting is while his father is Anglo-Irish his mother is Jewish. It was in a typical middle class environment in an area called Greenwich south east of London that Daniel spent his early years of his life.  Since South London was known for its tough neighborhood and hence children from that area being tough in nature he had tough time adjusting to life and was apparently often bullied. It was also during this time that he began to develop interest in acting and had started to master the local accents and mannerisms of people around him. It was also during is growing up years that he always got himself in trouble be it shoplifting or for petty crimes. It was in the year 1968 that his parents also found his behaviour to be quite unacceptable and decided to send him to an independent Sevenoaks  School in Kent as a boarder.  Although he hated attending school it was at school that he got introduced to (according to him) three passions in life woodworking, acting, and fishing. Although it was not long before that he got frustrated with school life and as a result had to be transferred to another independent school Bedales in Petersfield Hampshire. It was at this school in Hampshire during which he got his first major role in a movie called Sunday Bloody Sunday at a tender age of 14 in which he played a role of a vandal. Finally there came a time in his life that he had to make a serious career choice before he stagnated. So he decided to improve his craft by joining theatre at the National Youth Theatre in London where although his performances was appreciated he did not stay for long and applied for a five year apprenticeship as a cabinet maker unfortunately though  he was rejected due to his inexperience in the field. It was eventually at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School which accepted him where he studied acting for three years and eventually earned an opportunity to perform at the Bristol Old Vic itself.

After a long struggle it was only in the early 1980’s that Daniel started getting significant roles in theatre and also television. One of the most significant television series he was a part of was a series called Frost in May in which he played the role of an impotent man-child. It was finally 1982 in the Richard Attenborough’s masterpiece Gandhi that he got his first major role in a movie in which he played minor role as Colin a street thug. Although it was not until the year 1989 in the movie My Left Foot as Christy Brown an Irishman born with cerebral palsy which not only brought him much deserved attention but it also gave him his first Academy award for best actor in 1989. What also brought him attention was his use of “Method Acting” as a preparation tool for the role of a person affected by cerebral palsy. It was then in 1992 in the Michael Mann directed The Last of the Mohicans that once again brought him into focus especially of note was his in depth method of preparing for the role which included living on the land the character lived on and camping, fishing, and hunting. He then returned to play Gerry Conlon a man wrongfully convicted of bombing carried out by the provisional IRA in Ireland in the movie In the name of the Father for which he gained his second Academy Award nomination. In 1996 he then acted in the movie The Boxer where he played a former boxer and a IRA member released from prison. It was after this movie that Daniel took a five year sabbatical from movies. Such was the mystery behind this five year sabbatical that Daniel himself made a cryptic comment saying that “It was a period in my life that I had the right to without any intervention of that kind”. So finally after a gap of five years from acting he returned to the silver screen in the 2002 Martin Scorsese masterpiece Gangs of New York in which he played the menacing  Billy, the Butcher quite brilliantly and for which his performance was appreciated all over the world. It was then in 2007 in the Paul Thomas Anderson directed “There will be blood” that he won his second Academy award for best actor in the leading role in the 2007 academy awards in which he played a role of a ruthless and ambitious gold miner with great aplomb. It was finally in 2010 November that it was declared that Daniel would play American president Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s movie called Lincoln. True to expectations he did not disappoint and upon its release in December 2012 Daniel garnered some rave reviews for his absolute perfect performance as Lincoln. So it was hardly surprising when at 2013 Academy Awards he won his third best actor award a feat no actor has achieved thereby making him the first actor to have done so. With the sheer brilliant performances that we have seen from this actor over the year’s one can only hope for more of the same in the future as well.

As an actor Daniel is famous for being inspired by the great Constantin Stanislavski system of acting or more popularly known as “Method Acting” which basically involves deep research and complete dedication towards preparing for a role. So be it in the movie My Left Foot in which he refused to break out of his character and played a paralyzed human off screen on sets too and needed to be carried around the set or in Lincoln where for one year he prepared himself by reading over a hundred books on Lincoln as also working on his voice he is well known for his deep and meticulous preparation for all his roles. As a person he is as modest as any human can get along with being an extremely private person who does not like to speak much about his family life. Such is his modesty that on winning the 2013 Oscar for best actor he quite modestly acknowledged his fellow nominees and said “My fellow nominees, my equals, my betters I’m so proud to have been included as one amongst you”. With great modesty as a human and great passion for acting one can safely say that he indeed belongs to a rare breed called “Artists”.

Along with being a great human being and insanely passionate actor Daniel is also intelligent who understands that an actor requires enough resources within him in order to act and hence he selects his movies really carefully. He is so selective that he has only acted in twenty movies in the last forty two years that he has been active in the movie industry. So with a record third Oscar for best actor in his bag Daniel has certainly proved that passion and dedication towards an art called acting certainly brings about sweet rewards as also, the fact that the human being who acts is most definitely the human being that lives.
The great acting guru Lee Strasberg once famously commented about acting that “The human being who acts is the human being who lives” and, if there is any actor who perfectly reflects this statement in world cinema today it is none other than the great Daniel Day Lewis. With...