Daniel Day-Lewis: Five of his best roles

British actor Daniel Day-Lewis holds his Oscar for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Lincoln at the 85th Academy Awards.
British actor Daniel Day-Lewis holds his Oscar for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Lincoln at the 85th Academy Awards.PHOTO: EPA

Three-time Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis stunned fans when he made the sudden announcement earlier this week that he is retiring from acting.

The British actor will "no longer be working as an actor", his publicist had said on Tuesday (June 20) in a statement. "This is a private decision, and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject."

While the entertainment industry is saddened by his decision, fans can at least take comfort in his wide-ranging body of work.

The Straits Times takes a look at some of his best performances, including the ones which earned him Best Actor Oscars: My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007) and Lincoln (2012).

The revered 60-year-old, known for being a method actor, is the only performer to have three Best Actor Academy Awards to his name. He was also nominated in the same category for In The Name Of The Father (1993) and Gangs Of New York (2002).

MY LEFT FOOT (1989)

Director: Jim Sheridan

 

In this moving biopic, Day-Lewis played Christy Brown, an Irishman with cerebral palsy who has control of only his left foot. Despite the odds, Brown eventually became a writer and painter. For the role, the method actor taught himself to paint with his left foot, and insisted on staying in a wheelchair in between takes. He was given his first Best Actor Oscar for his performance.

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Here, Day-Lewis played a Daniel Plainview, a ruthless miner searching for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th century. Reportedly, his original co-star Kel O'Neill was replaced by actor Paul Dano as the former was "intimidated" by Day-Lewis' tendency to stay in character on set. Either way, the film role earned the leading man his second Best Actor Oscar trophy.

LINCOLN (2012)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Day-Lewis played the titular Lincoln - that is, former US president Abraham Lincoln, when he was struggling with internal conflicts surrounding the decision to emancipate the slaves. Many critics praised the actor's "tender and soulful" portrayal, and for his ability to make such an iconic and revered historical figure feel so human and real.

GANGS OF NEW YORK (2002)

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Day-Lewis was terrifying as the fictional Bill The Butcher, a vicious crime boss in 19th century New York who gouged his own eye out in a fit of rage at himself. The role was the actor's first in five years - during which he was reportedly working as an apprentice to a cobbler in Italy - and marked what many say was a "trimphant return" to acting.

THE CRUCIBLE (1996)

Directed by: Nicholas Hytner

Based on Arthur Miller's play of the same name, the film is inspired by the Salem Witch Trials of 17th century America, when people were hanged after being accused of withcraft.

Day-Lewis played John Proctor, a farmer and adulterer who is eventually killed after being accused of witchcraft. Reportedly, the actor did not shower for one entire film shoot as he wanted to stay true to 17th century habits. He also spent a month with the movie carpenters prior to filming in order to help build the set.