Daniel Day-Lewis has become the first performer to win three Academy awards for Best Actor, picking up his third statuette for his performance as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." Day-Lewis, who has previously won the award for 1989's "My Left Foot" and 2007's "There Will Be Blood," was a prohibitive favorite going into the Oscar show. He has been named best actor at virtually every awards show this season, including the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Movie Awards.
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The 55-year-old British-born actor, known for his obsessive preparation and for staying in character while shooting his movies, came into the Oscars as the only sure thing left for "Lincoln," which was once considered the Best Picture favorite before it faded as Ben Affleck's "Argo" won one guild award after another. When "Argo" won the Screen Actors Guild prize for ensemble cast just after Day-Lewis had been named SAG's Best Actor, Affleck joked in his acceptance speech about becoming a better actor simply by standing in the same spot on the stage that Day-Lewis had occupied a few minutes earlier. Eight other actors have won two Best Actor Oscars, including Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Sean Penn and Jack Nicholson, but Day-Lewis is the first to win three. The win ties him with Nicholson and Walter Brennan as the actors with the most Oscars. But Brennan won all three of his awards in the Supporting Actor category, while Nicholson won one supporting trophy to go with his two Best Actor awards. In the 23 years since his first Oscar, Day-Lewis has made only 10 films. He has been nominated for Oscars five times.