Daniel Day-Lewis wrote his name into the Hollywood history books today on another great night for Britain at the Oscars.
The 55-year-old picked up the best actor prize for his towering performance as American president Abraham Lincoln.
There was also success for Adele, who won best song as Skyfall became the first James Bond film ever to collect two Oscars.
The British triumph continued at the 85th Academy Awards, with four accolades for UK-made hit musical Les Miserables, and a prize for the former BBC pair Lisa Westcott and Julia Dartnell for their costume and make-up on period drama Anna Karenina.
Day-Lewis, who previously won the best actor award for My Left Foot in 1990 and There Will Be Blood in 2008, gave a humble speech after picking up his best actor award from Oscars legend Meryl Streep.
“I really don’t know how any of this happened, I do know I’ve received more than my fair share of good fortune in my life,” he said.
He thanked his wife Rebecca for supporting him throughout and tearfully paid tribute to his mother. He then joked Streep had been the first choice to play Lincoln and he had been committed to play Margaret Thatcher – the role that won Streep an Oscar last year.
He said: “It’s strange because, three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher and Meryl was Steven Spielberg’s first choice for Lincoln. I’d have liked to see that version.”
Adele, who had earlier delivered a spine-tingling performance of her Skyfall song, gave a tearful but brief speech, thanking the 007 producers and her collaborate Paul Epworth for ‘believing in me all the time’. She said: “This is just amazing.” The 24-year-old thanked her charity worker partner Simon Konecki, saying: ‘And my man, I love you baby.”
On a night when the awards were spread among many different movies, the biggest winner was Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which picked up four Oscars including the best director award.
Ben Affleck’s political drama Argo was named best picture, beating Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which had been up for 12 Oscars but walked away with only two. First Lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson, courtesy of a live video link from the White House, to help present the best picture prize.
Jennifer Lawrence won best actress for her role as a troubled young widow in Silver Linings Playbook – but was red-faced after stumbling over her flowing Dior dress on her way to the stage. The 22-year-old quickly regained her composure to joke: “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell over and that’s embarrassing.”
Surveying the huge audience in the Dolby Theatre, she added: “This is nuts.” Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz won the support acting awards for their roles in Les Miserables and Django Unchained – the latter also earning a screenplay prize for Quentin Tarantino.
Day-Lewis’ triumph as the first man to win three best actor Oscars puts him ahead of Hollywood legends including Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando and Dustin Hoffman.
The son of former poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis and actress Jill Balcon, he has a reputation for taking method acting very seriously. In order to play Guildford Four member Gerry Conlon in the film In The Name Of The Father, he spent two days in a prison cell without food and water. And in Lincoln he stayed in character throughout the entire filming schedule.
But he is also not afraid to poke fun at himself. Accepting his best actor Bafta for Lincoln, he said: “Just on the chance I might one day have to speak on an evening such as this I’ve actually stayed in character as myself for the last 55 years and had a various selection of Bafta sets downscaled, dating from the late 50s, placed in every single room of every house I’ve ever lived in and every time I rise from a chair it spontaneously unleashes a soundtrack of thunderous applause, with a few boos and some drunken hecklers.”
Carpet company Grosvenor Wilton of Hart-lebury, near Kidderminster, also had a starring role in Lincoln as it supplied a replica of the carpet for scenes in the White House.
All the winners:
Actor in a Leading Role:
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
Actress in a Leading Role:
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
Actress in a Supporting Role:
Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
Ang Lee for Life Of Pi
Music (Original Score):
Mychael Danna for Life Of Pi
Music (Original Song):
Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth for Skyfall from Skyfall
Animated Feature Film:
Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman for Brave
Claudio Miranda for Life Of Pi
Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina
Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn for Searching For Sugar Man
Documentary Short Subject:
Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine for Inocente
William Goldenberg for Argo
Foreign Language Film:
Makeup and Hairstyling:
Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell for Les Miserables
Animated Sort Film:
John Kahrs for Paperman
Live Action Short Film:
Shawn Christensen for Curfew
Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty
Life Of Pi
Chris Terrio for Argo
Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained