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Oscars 2013......Daniel Day Lewis makes Film History

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Oscars 2013......Daniel Day Lewis makes Film History

Post  Panda on Tue 26 Feb - 6:19

Oscars 2013: 'I can’t believe Dan has done it again'

As Daniel Day-Lewis makes film history with a third Best Actor Oscar for
'Lincoln', his sister pays tribute to a funny family man who’s happiest away
from the limelight

Modest: Day-Lewis with his
sister Tamasin in 1991. 'It was clear he wouldn’t have put money on winning,’
she said Photo: Camera

By Tamasin Day-Lewis

10:00PM GMT 25 Feb 2013


I can’t believe he’s won again – nor can Dan, as I discovered when I finally
got a text from my brother after the mayhem of Sunday’s Oscars. He’d left his
telephone behind on the night, gone to bed “in the wee hours” and finally caught
up with me. Neither of us had allowed ourselves to believe it would happen.
After all, when he won every award leading up to the Oscars in the year of Gangs
of New York, he then didn’t win. But somehow I never doubted he’d get three.

I get asked about my brother all the time, not unnaturally, though the
interest in the run-up to his making Oscar history is on an unprecedented scale.
I am constantly questioned about his “obsessive” working habits in a way that
implies a kind of madness that just doesn’t correlate with the person I know.
People always want a “how” explanation. But I shouldn’t think even Dan knows the

Much has been made of his character acting, the Madness and the Method that
is attributed to him as though he were a rare, strange creature with an
inability to be himself before, during or even directly after the playing of a
character. If only people knew.

As the brother I grew up with and the man he is now, it is odd to me that
people see only Dan’s high seriousness when, in fact, he is one of the funniest
people I know.

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He may, this third time around, be cracking jokes at his own expense as he
receives his awards, about being in character as himself for 55 years, or his
wife, Rebecca, having to have put up with living with some strange personas over
the years, but that is the real Dan, the private Dan, who has been at pains to
keep his life hidden from prying eyes.

You can’t prepare for fame or – as an actor like Dan, who is shy by nature –
what comes with the job, which is the exact opposite of what attracted you to it
in the first place: having to talk about yourself; make the private public; be
observed, rather than remaining the observer; sell the product, when the real
work of becoming the character is over and you would much rather just disappear
back into the ether.

In Dan’s case, the ether is the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, his wife and
children, painting, reading, cycling. Simple everyday things that people don’t
imagine make up the real life and joys of someone as illustrious as Dan.

Setting out, as my brother did, to try to be a working actor – which is more
than most actors get the chance to be – he could never have known how it would
all lead to today and this extraordinary pinnacle. You only have to listen to
his acceptance speech to know that Dan doesn’t, hasn’t and never will take
anything for granted.

“I have had so much more than my fair share of good fortune,” he said, as he
paid generous and heartfelt tribute to his peers, referring to them as “my
equals, my betters”. He also, while staying with me and our families in the west
of Ireland last summer, used the words “unseemly luck” – which have stuck in my
mind – as though the very word “deserving” couldn’t, didn’t, apply and anyway,
the fates could and do change.

He has been mindful of chance and luck from the beginning. And as he has
edged higher and higher in his career, his success has made him increasingly
aware of the potential precipice he is looking over.

We didn’t have the easiest of childhoods, particularly since our father, the
poet Cecil Day-Lewis, was ill and died during our teenage years, so we were
definitely thrown onto our mutual resources and formed a kind of
closeness-in-adversity that I still treasure as much as any relationship in my
life and which we may not have had if our circumstances had been different.

We were never pushed, as children, to achieve, be ambitious, be driven;
probably both parents saw the gene would out anyway and that focus on working,
having a passion, doing it for the thing itself, never for spurious fame or
money was the only way in the arts. Even then, there was no guarantee of
success. But at least we came from a family that didn’t say “get a proper job”.

Dan and I both know, knew, that having famous parents wasn’t a real
credential, and that it could act as much against, as for, you. It also gives
you the advantage of seeing fame and success for what they are and real
fulfilment in your life, your family, your striving with the other complex
things that life throws at you and in keeping your feet firmly planted on the

You can often not see luck until you take a long view, but I am sure that it
is the difficulties, problems, mistakes and fears we both faced in those years
and our next couple of decades, that made us what we are and gave us our
strengths, and made us believe in ourselves whilst retaining our self-doubt.

The fact that Dan explains his slow and painstaking approach to his roles as
the only way he can work, and sees the great performances of his peers this year
as genuinely as gifted as his, is entirely in keeping with his essential
modesty. No amount of awards will skew his sense of himself onto the wrong side
of self-belief. Each time he works, he genuinely doesn’t know if he has pulled
it off.

Whilst everyone assumed this Oscar was a foregone conclusion, I was more
circumspect. So it wasn’t until the envelope was opened and Meryl Streep
announced him as the winner that I finally believed it. I’m sure Dan was the

Indeed, this summer in Ireland when he was talking to me about Lincoln, it
was clear that he wouldn’t have put money on himself. But he has made history,
and made history work for him.

Whatever his initial misgivings of being an Irish/Englishman playing
America’s most revered president, his seamlessness as both politician and man
made even me, his sister, wonder. He has the greatest gift of them all, as an
actor, of not appearing to act, and as a man and a brother, of charm, grace,
fun, loyalty and a demonic conviction about things when he needs to.

I’ve only just watched my brother’s full acceptance speech and all the
comments that say it was the best one: articulate, gracious and witty. Time to
crack open a bottle with friends since Dan and I will have to put our
celebrations on hold until Ireland this summer. As the world can perhaps now
see, Dan has a levity, gaiety and fun that he has concealed until now, except
perhaps in his characters.

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