Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" First Reviews For 'Terminator Genisys' Suggest Franchise Didn't Need To Say "I'll Be Back" Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' Kit Harington & Dakota Fanning Replace Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska In 'Brimstone' The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances The Essentials: The 5 Best Colin Farrell Perfomances The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Can Daniel Day-Lewis Break The Spielberg Acting Awards Oscar Losing Streak For 'Lincoln?'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist August 24, 2012 at 12:22PM

With festival season getting underway in only a few short days, we're about to see which actors will gain traction for the awards season ahead of us. But there's at least one major performance that we won't know about for a few months yet (or until we see a trailer), and it's one that's probably been the presumptive front-runner ever since the film was announced: Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," the director's biopic of Civil War-winning President Abraham Lincoln, focusing on the last few months of his life before his assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.
30
Lincoln Poster Header

With festival season getting underway in only a few short days, we're about to see which actors will gain traction for the awards season ahead of us. But there's at least one major performance that we won't know about for a few months yet (or until we see a trailer), and it's one that's probably been the presumptive front-runner ever since the film was announced: Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," the director's biopic of Civil War-winning President Abraham Lincoln, focusing on the last few months of his life before his assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.

After all, it's one of the most lauded actors of modern times, who last won in 2007 for "There Will Be Blood," in the kind of transformative historical figure role that always pays dividends with Academy voters, and working for the first time with America's most beloved filmmaker, a two-time Best Director winner. Once Day-Lewis came on board, many assumed that they might as well start carving his name on the statue. But will that really be the case? Looking at history a little more closely, it becomes clear not only that Spielberg's not necessarily the Oscar favorite that he's made out to be, but also that a win for Day-Lewis would be unprecedented on a number of levels. So before people decide that it's already sewn up based on a poster that debuted this week, let's look at the stats. It's certainly true that Spielberg's films have been frequent visitors to the Academy. Twelve of his movies have been nominated for four or more awards, and three got more than ten.

Munich

But when he picked up Best Director for the second time, for "Saving Private Ryan," the film lost Best Picture to "Shakespeare In Love." And perhaps even more importantly, no Spielberg film has won an Oscar since. "Munich" got five nominations, including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, and "War Horse" got six, including Picture (but not director). But it's fifteen years since a film by the director actually picked up an Oscar. And perhaps more importantly, no actor or actress has ever won an Oscar for a performance in a Spielberg film.

There have been plenty of nominations: Melinda Dillon for "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind"; Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey for "The Color Purple"; Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes for "Schindler's List"; Anthony Hopkins for "Amistad"; Tom Hanks for "Saving Private Ryan" and Christopher Walken for "Catch Me If You Can." But none actually converted it for a win, and maybe it's because there were more deserving winners, or maybe it's because Academy voters have never quite shaken the view that Spielberg is a master technician first and foremost. But it's a fairly bleak precedent for Day-Lewis, as well as Sally Field, David Strathairn and Tommy Lee Jones, who are said to be the supporting players to keep an eye on, as Mary Todd Lincoln, William Seward and Thaddeus Grant respectively.

First Real Look: Daniel Day Lewis In Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' (header)

Furthermore, Day-Lewis also has another disadvantage. If he wins, he'd be the first performer in history to win three Best Actor Academy Awards. Jack Nicholson has two, plus a Best Supporting Actor prize for "Terms Of Endearment," and Walter Brennan has three Supporting Actor wins, for "Come And Get It," "Kentucky" and "The Westerner." If he wins for "Lincoln," he'd be essentially anointed as the greatest actor in Hollywood history. And given that it's only five years since his last victory (for a performance that would be the peak of most actors' careers), it may be that the Academy won't quite be ready to make that step, especially in a year that looks like it won't be lacking in strong competition -- Joaquin Phoenix, John Hawkes, Bill Murray, Hugh Jackman, Clint Eastwood and Denzel Washington all have serious potential, at least this far out.

None of this is to say that the film, and central performance won't be a major player. It's a match of source material, director and performer that happens once in a blue moon, and should be firmly in the Academy's wheelhouse, even if the movie disappoints -- certainly, when Spielberg has taken on subject matter like this, he's been rewarded in a big way. But if one is to look at the record books, it may have a trickier awards season fight on its hands than many have anticipated. We'll find out when the film opens on November 9th. But what do you think. Does DDL have the juice to take it all the way?

Let us know below and check out this week's Best Picture Chart on page two.

This article is related to: Features, The Amazing Race, Oscars, Academy Awards, Lincoln, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates