Daniel Day-Lewis says he won’t be making any more movies, with the upcoming “Phantom Thread” set to be his swan song. This period picture, in which he plays a fictionalized version of 1950s royal designer Hardy Amies, marks his second collaboration with writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson. Their first, “There Will Be Blood,” won Day-Lewis the second of his record three Best Actor Oscars in 2008.
Were he to prevail again for this Focus Features film, which is due out at Christmas, Day-Lewis would equal the benchmark set by Katharine Hepburn on the distaff side. While his decision to retire is, no doubt, genuine, an unexpected bonus could be that Oscar voters take this one last chance to honor him again.
Day-Lewis won his first Academy Award in 1989 for his sensitive portrayal of Christy Brown, the Irish painter who overcame cerebral palsy, in Jim Sheridan’s “My Left Foot.” After making five more movies in eight years, the actor walked away from filmdom in 1997 after completing “The Boxer,” the last of his three films with Sheridan. They had also collaborated on “In the Name of the Father” in 1993, which earned him his second Oscar nomination.
He was convinced to end his five-year sabbatical by Martin Scorsese, with whom he had made “The Age of Innocence” in 1993. The Oscar-winning director convinced him to return in 2002 with a meaty part in “Gangs of New York” as William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting, which won him a second BAFTA and netted him his third Oscar nomination.
Five years later, Day-Lewis won both the Oscar and BAFTA for that first film with Anderson. While his 2009 turn in the tuner “Nine” was much maligned, he bounced back in 2012 with his riveting portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg‘s “Lincoln.” Yet again, he won both the Oscar and BAFTA. “The Phantom Thread” marks his first (and perhaps last) film since then.
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