Daniel Day-Lewis has been hailed the greatest living film actor, and with the exception of Meryl Streep, and some might argue even that, he might be. The only actor in film history to win three Academy Awards for Best Actor, (Katherine Hepburn won four for Best Actress), Day-Lewis works infrequently, but when he works it is cause for celebration because you can bet the performance is going to be something very special. In addition to winning three Academy Awards he has been nominated two other times. Despite having a career spanning three decades we have gotten to see hardly two dozens of Danial Day-Lewis movies.
He shuns the business, choosing to live in Ireland with his wife and children, and hates the spotlight, the press, and the studio business that often comes with it. Since 1988, twenty five years, he has made just fourteen films, with a period of up to five years between working. When he decides to make a film, he totally immerses himself in the role, refusing to answer to his given name, being the character for the entire duration of the shoot. So great is his preparation for a part he asked Steven Spielberg for a full year to research Lincoln, making sure he had read one hundred or more books about the late President, read extensively about his voice, how he sounded, and his mannerisms. As the great method actors do he gives himself over to the part in every way, and his genius is that it works.
Just once has he faltered and I might be challenged on that, but I did not find his performance in Nine (2009) to be terribly great. There is nothing I can pin down why it did not work for me, it just felt forced, and awkward, as though for the first time we could see him acting, and that has never happened before.
Each performance is radically different from the last, he never seems to repeat himself, and is such a complete chameleon we barely recognize from one film to the next. Is there any other actor who has been so consistently diverse in their roles…if so I am not aware of them. Is he the greatest we have ever had on screen…he might be. Whatever the argument, his performances are more often than not legendary.With that said, here is the list of top Daniel Day-Lewis movies, carefully selected from his impressive filmography. You can stream some of these Daniel Day-Lewis movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
1. There Will be Blood (2007)