Bristol Old Vic actor Daniel Day-Lewis makes Oscar award history
Bristol Old Vic-trained actor Daniel Day-Lewis has made Oscar history after becoming the first man to win the best actor trophy three times.
Day-Lewis, the star of Steven Spielberg’s hit film Lincoln, last night took the award for his rendition of the 16th American president.
His performance wowed critics and has earned him a BAFTA Award and Golden Globe for best actor as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.
The star previously won the best actor Oscar award in 1989 for My Left Foot and in 2007 for There Will Be Blood.
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Day-Lewis trained for three years at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the late 1970s, before performing at the Bristol Old Vic itself.
He is patron and the face of the Bristol Old Vic fundraising campaign, and in 2010 he received an honorary degree from the University of Bristol.
The theatre school said in a statement: “Everyone at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is hugely delighted that former student Daniel Day-Lewis has won the Best Actor Oscar for his stunning performance as Abraham Lincoln.
“A new record too! Daniel is an actor at the top of his craft and our students and staff will be toasting his extraordinary and unique achievement of winning a third Oscar here at the Theatre School today.”
Meanwhile Alan Wright, Director of Development at the Bristol Old Vic, said: “We’re delighted for Daniel that he’s the first person in the history of the Academy Awards to have been awarded Best Actor on three occasions.
"That he is such a committed supporter of all that we are doing at Bristol Old Vic while he is such an internationally recognised artist is typical of his character and passion for the Arts at every level.”
Last night’s Hollywood triumph is the latest high-point in the 55-year-old’s extensive career.
Having made his film debut in Sunday, Bloody Sunday at the age of 14 in 1971, Day-Lewis joined the National Youth Theatre.
In 1976, having had an application for a cabinet-making apprenticeship turned down, he gained a place at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
After completing his training in 1979 he joined the Bristol Old Vic company and later performed with Bristol-based Little Theatre Company.
Day-Lewis shifted between theatre and film for most of the early 1980s. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared alongside Anthony Hopkins and Sir Laurence Olivier in the 1984 film The Bounty.
In 1986 Day-Lewis's featured in A Room with a View and his first leading role came the following year when he starred alongside Juliette Binoche in The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
The 55-year-old is known for his method acting – he immerses himself in his roles physically and emotionally. To prepare for his part in The Unbearable Lightness of Being Day-Lewis learned Czech, and he stayed in character for the entire eight-month shoot.
He spent months making friends with and learning about the experiences of disabled people at the Sanymount School Clinic ahead of playing paralysed poet Christy Brown in My Left Foot, and killed all his own food for Last Of The Mohicans in 1992.
He also refused to wash for the duration of The Crucible shoot in 1996 in order to better understand what it was like to live with 17th century hygiene standards.
Day-Lewis, who holds UK-Irish citizenship, previously won best actor for My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood.
He holds four BAFTA awards for Best Actor and two Golden Globe Awards, as well as a host of other international awards.
But while he last night made Oscar history with his Lincoln performance, it was almost the role that never was. Steven Spielberg had always intended for the actor to play the part, but Day-Lewis had turned down the opportunity in 2003, leaving the project in limbo.
But Spielberg convinced the actor some seven years later and his role as the 16th president was born.
Day-Lewis is married to writer and director Rebecca Miller – daughter of famed playwright Arthur Miller - and has two sons, Ronan and Cashel Blake.
Also hoping for Oscar success last night were a writer-producer, director and make-up expert who all live, or used to live, in the Bristol area.