Can Daniel Day-Lewis Accomplish What Seems Impossible?

by Paul on January 12, 2013

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Did you know that no actor has ever won the Academy Awards for Best Actor three times? Several great actors have two golden statues, but never once has the same man obtained that honor a third time in their career. Now just to be clear, IAs Good As It Gets (1997) am only talking about the Best Actor award and not the Best Supporting Actor award. Walter Brennan won three Best Supporting Actor awards for “Come And Get It” (1936), “Kentucky” (1938) and “The Westerner” (1940). Jack Nicholson also has three awards, but two of them are Best Actor for “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) and “As Good As It Gets” (1997) and one Best Supporting Actor award for “Terms Of Endearment” (1983).

GaslightLooking at the actresses, Ingrid Bergman won two Best Actress awards for “Gaslight” (1944) and “Anastasia” (1956), as well a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Murder On The Orient Express” (1975). Meryl Streep has recently added herself  to this list by winning two Best Actress awards for “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and “The Iron Lady” (2011), as well as a Best Supporting Actress Award for “Kramer Vs. Kramer” (1979). And then of course there is Katharine Hepburn, who in her glorious career managed to win four… that’s right, four Academy Awards for Best Actress. First for “Morning Glory” (1933), then she had to wait 34 years to win againGuess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967) for “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” (1967). She tied Barbara Streisand for the award with her performance in “A Lion In Winter” (1968), and then capped it all off with her final Academy Award for “On Golden Pond” (1981).

And that brings us back to the fact that an actor has yet to achieve a third Academy Award for Best Actor, which just seems a bit strange. Is the Academy against giving someone the award a third time or is it just coincidence? Of the nine actors that have won two Academy Awards, Gary Cooper was never nominated again and Sean Penn Boys Town (1938)hasn’t been yet. (It has only been three years since his second win.) Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Fredric March and Jack Nicholson were all nominated one more time after their second triumph, and Tom Hanks was nominated twice. And then there is Spencer Tracy, who won back to back Academy Awards for “Captains Courageous” (1937) and “Boys Town” (1938), but didn’t win a third Best Actor award despite six more nominations in his career.

So why do I bring this up? Simply, Daniel Day-Lewis has already won two Best Actor awards for “My Left Foot” (1989) and “There Will Be Blood” (2007), and has now been nominatedMy Left Foot (1989) again for his performance in “Lincoln” (2012). Could Daniel Day-Lewis become the first actor to win this award a third time? Based on the history of the Academy Awards I would have to say that his chances don’t look very good, but when you consider his competition, he does come out appearing to be the early favorite. Denzel Washington, who has one Best Actor award for “Training Day” (2001) and one Best Supporting Actor award for “Glory” (1989), always has the ability to surprise us with a win, but his performance in “Flight” (2012), although outstanding, doesn’t seem to have the power to overcome Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood (2007)this year. The other nominees are Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables” (2012), Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012) and Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master” (2012). While these are all strong performances, I don’t know that they can compete with Daniel Day-Lewis, and his uncanny portrayal in “Lincoln”.

With that being said, after Tom Hanks won his back to back Oscars for “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Forrest Gump” (1994), I thought he was going to be our first three time winner with either of his nominated performances in “Saving Private Ryan”(1998) or “Cast Away” (2000). Yet despite his magnificentLincoln (2012) talents in these films, the Academy did not reward him with a third statue. The question is, “Is Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance so amazing, so captivating to procure him this honor?”

With several weeks before the statues are handed out anything can happen, but already it is interesting to see the possibility of an actor finally receiving his third statue. I for one, hope he succeeds.

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