MY BEST LEADING ACTOR PERFORMANCES
10. Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot, 1989)
Out of random-choosing, I’m starting the actual top ten lists with my number ten from the leading males category with one of the most difficult roles ever to be portrayed on screen in a debut performance that probably could never be competed with. Daniel Day-Lewis quickly made his mark playing Christy Brown, an Irish artist suffering from cerebral palsy, in an adaptation of Brown’s autobiography, My Left Foot.
I’ve heard many great things about Daniel Day-Lewis. I had never actually heard of him before until all the buzz around his most recent performance in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Since then, I was able to see two of his performances, this one and Gangs of New York. After seeing him in his element, I can tell why some people hail him as the greatest actor of all-time. He’s incredibly talented and the dedication he has to his roles is amazing, I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone put so much effort into the actual acting rather than the preparations as Day-Lewis has done in his very small but successful filmography. So far, his performance in My Left Foot has remained my favorite.
First off, the character of Christy Brown throws many curveballs and challenges that most debuting actors would never take on. He has severe cerebral palsy, can’t talk for a good portion of the film, is only able to move his left foot (hence the title) and has difficulty in facials. But Daniel Day-Lewis overcomes most of this so well. The emotion he portrays in his eyes is so strong and feels so real. Then, his facials are so great, but then when you look back, his mouth barely moves from the frown he has yet you notice all these emotions. There is determination, happiness, anger, frustration, love, almost every human emotion possible he pulls off without hand gestures, articulate speech or a mouth. That alone won him the Oscar, but he really still had an impeccable performance underneath it all. It wasn’t that he was able to show cerebral palsy without having it, but to exemplify his struggles, his elation and his love. Some scenes, they are all out on the table and the intensity he brings to them just is astounding. There was a reason his win was so unanimous because he really was the best right then. I’m really excited to see more of Mr. Day-Lewis’ work.
Before that, I’m going to continue up this list with my number nine choice. Stay tuned!