Daniel Day-Lewis Set To Make Oscars History

Greg Milam, US Correspondent

Daniel Day-Lewis is on course to make Oscars history by becoming the first person ever to win three Best Actor awards.

The British-Irish star is odds-on favourite to pick up the Academy Award for his performance as America's 16th president in Steven Spielberg's epic Lincoln.

Day-Lewis, who won Oscars for his performances in My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood, has already swept the board this awards season.

He plays Abraham Lincoln during the last four months of his life as he strived to see passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which outlawed slavery.

Day-Lewis reportedly remained in character for the whole three months it took to shoot the film, insisting everyone refer to him as "Mr President".

He told Sky Movies: "Perhaps because I was able to take so much time to discover him I found that, as a man, in all his aspects, in his character, in his soul, I never really discovered someone who was more beautiful to me."

Day-Lewis' performance has once again thrown the focus on to the merits of what is called "method acting".

Lee Strasberg is the man credited with being the "father of method" and his son now runs the acting institute bearing the family's name in Hollywood.

David Lee Strasberg told Sky News: "To some degree you think 'Oh it is just another great performance by Daniel Day-Lewis' and everyone expects it at this point.

"If we hadn't seen all his work beforehand we would be floored."

Among the students at the school are three young British actors who see Day-Lewis' success as an inspiration to follow the method.

Lauren Fuller, who arrived in Los Angeles from London last summer, said: "He said he didn't think he was a good enough actor to come in and out of character and that's why he stayed in character for the whole time.

"I think if Daniel Day-Lewis thinks he's not a good enough actor, what hope is there for the rest of us?"

Helena Gullan said: "He takes big risks in what he does which I think is really admirable. He takes method to a new level.

Elizabeth Venezia, also from London, summed up the spirit among Brits in Hollywood: adding: "Yeah, great, Daniel Day-Lewis does his thing for Britain. It is like the Olympics."

When he was preparing for his role as Christy Brown in My Left Foot, Day Lewis spent weeks studying patients with cerebral palsy at a school and clinic in Dublin. He later returned with his Oscar.

Former head teacher Anthony Jordan told Sky News: "He spent the whole morning in the school and clinic, visiting all the classrooms and getting photos taken and signing autographs and the place was hysterical really."

Day-Lewis has returned numerous times and Mr Jordan describes him as "a true gentleman".