Mar 09, 2013
In an exciting and controversial Oscar season, one award was a sure bet even before the nominations were announced: Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln in Lincoln. And he won, of course, becoming the first actor to win three Oscars for Best Actor. (The other two? My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood.)
Articles upon articles have been written about the genius of Daniel Day-Lewis and his portrayal of Lincoln; Charles McGrath's Abe Lincoln As You Never Heard Him: Daniel Day-Lewis on Playing Abraham Lincoln in the New York Times has particularly interesting insight into Day-Lewis's working methods. So after you've gotten on the list for Lincoln (due out March 26), check out some of his other work--eclectic and varied, but always fascinating.
A Room With a View - Romantic and lovely film from 1986 about a young woman (Helena Bonham-Carter) whose trip to Florence leads to impropriety, confusion and passion. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Cecil Vyse, the prissy suitor that Bonham-Carter rejects. In Day-Lewis's hands, the unsympathetic character of Vyse becomes endearing and richly detailed. From the same time period, see also My Beautiful Laundrette, one of Day-Lewis's first major film roles.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, based on Hanif Kureshi's book of the same name, is set in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and revolves around a young doctor who has a way with women and an aversion to politics. The way with women is what tends to stand out about Day-Lewis's performance in this film, which often shows up on movie lists around Valentine's Day. If you know what I'm saying.
Another Day-Lewis film that shows up on those lists is The Last of the Mohicans, based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper. From our catalog: "The love of Hawkeye, rugged frontiersman and adopted son of the Mohicans, and Cora Munro, aristocratic daughter of a British colonel, blazes amidst a brutal conflict between the British, the French and Native American allies in colonial America." From countless most memorable lines lists: "I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you." That would be Day-Lewis as Hawkeye, with flowing locks, making a promise to Cora (Madeline Stowe).
More literary adaptations soon followed, with The Age of Innocence, adapted from Edith Wharton's novel and co-starring Winona Ryder and Michelle Pfeiffer. The Crucible, based on the Arthur Miller play, and also co-starring Winona Ryder, interestingly enough. Oh, the 1990s. What a crazy time.
Daniel Day-Lewis also worked with director Jim Sheridan on a couple of Irish-set movies: In the Name of the Father - a fact-based film about Gerry Conlon, a young Irish punk who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and forced to confess to a terrorist bombing. And The Boxer - When Danny Flynn returns to his Belfast neighborhood after 14 years in prison, all he wants is to find peace, resume his career, and reclaim the love of the woman who has remained etched in his mind.
And three more to wind up your Daniel Day-Lewis film fest: Gangs of New York: Martin Scorsese film about gang violence in old New York; The Ballad of Jack and Rose: about a father and daughter living in a commune; and Nine, a musical loosely based on Fellini's 8 1/2 wherein Day-Lewis makes movies and juggles women.
What's your favorite Daniel Day-Lewis movie or performance? Tell us in the comments!