Daniel Day-Lewis received the Montecito Award at this year’s Santa Barbara Film Festival. At the ceremony, he discussed his upbringing, starting in theatre and working, predominently in films set in an earlier time.
It certainly was never my intention to kind of claw my way through one century after another…I hope that I might eventually emerge in the 21st century. I’ve still got a long way to go…In fact, most of the performances that have influenced me have been contemporary performances, so I can’t account for that except I think it has something to do with my nose…I have the look of someone who ought to really exist in another time.
A few of Day-Lewis’s period characters include, Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, Christy Brown in My Left Foot, Daniel Plainview in There Will be Blood and President Abraham Lincoln, in Lincoln. In each of these performances, he’s either been nominated for or won an Oscar.
After filming The Boxer, in 1997, Day-Lewis semi-retired from acting. He took five years off before his next film which was Gangs. When Martin Scorsese asked him to take the part, he felt he wasn’t ready but as he better understand the story, he knew he had to do it. Day-Lewis stressed that it was his decision, that neither Scorsese nor fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio needed to talk him into it, as the story goes.
Anyone that’s ever had something of value, doesn’t have to sell it. I’d say it’s true of everything I’ve ever done. These directors that have given me these incredible opportunities, they’ve never tried to sell them to me; they didn’t need to.
Watch the award ceremony honoring, Day-Lewis.
The Montecito Award recognizes an actor who has given a series of classic and standout performances. Labeled one of the best actors of our time, when only appearing in nineteen carefully chosen films and nominated and winning awards for the majority of his performances, it’s no surprise he was honored for this award and will be for many more throughout his career. His Lincoln performance remains a front-runner at this year’s Oscars.