At the age of fifty British actor Daniel Day Lewis has landed his fourth Academy Award nomination for his role in There Will Be Blood, and is the favourite to win.But over the years he has become known as one of the most selective actors in the industry, having made only four movies in the last eleven years: The Boxer, Gangs of New York, The Ballad of Jack and Rose and There Will Be Blood.He made his film debut in 1971, at the age of fourteen in Sunday Bloody Sunday.Despite it being an uncredited role it sparked his love for acting and he was accepted to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, were he stayed for three years.He went on to perform on the stage at the Bristol Old Vic itself.In 1982, eleven years after making his film debut, he returned to the screen for a small part as a street thug in Gandhi.

In 1984 he joined Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier in The bounty, the real life story of Captain William Blyh against whom a mutiny was led by Master's Mate Fletcher Christian on the HMS Bounty.

After a brief spell back on the stage he returned with his breakthrough role of Johnny in My Beautiful Laundrette as half of a gay bi-racial couple.

He followed this up with his performance as Cecil Vyse in A Room With A View, which starred Helena Bonham Carter.

In 1989 he won his first Academy Award, with his first nomination, for My Left Foot, the real life story of Christy Brown who overcame severe handicap caused by cerebral palsy.

He was off the screen for three years returning in 1992 with historic epic The Last of the Mohicans, based on James Fenimore Cooper's classic novel.

A year later he starred alongside Winona Ryder and Michelle Pfeiffer in The Age of Innocence, his first of two collaborations with director Martin Scorsese.

He starred as Newland Archer, an upstanding gentleman and partner in a lucrative and conservative law firm, is engaged to the perfect society woman, the pretty and polished May Welland (Winona Ryder).

They are hoping to push forward their wedding date when Newland meets Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), May's beautiful, cosmopolitan, and scandal-ridden cousin.

Ellen, who has resided in Europe and cultivated a more permissive continental sensibility, believes she's found a kindred spirit in Newland.

Slowly the two fall in love, and Ellen entices Newland with the vision of a life not ruled by the rigid guidelines of New York's stuffy upper crust.

An Academy Award nominated performance for In The Name of the Father followed in 1993, which was based on the story of the Guildford Four. He lost out to Tom Hanks for Philadelphia.

Daniel Day Lewis took five years away from the big screen between 1997 and 2002 returning in his second Martin Scorsese picture Gangs of New York with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Amsterdam Vallon, the son of a revered gang leader (Liam Neeson). As a youth, Amsterdam witnessed the death of his father at the hands of William "The Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), the maniacally driven ruler of the city's most powerful gang.

Sixteen years later, Amsterdam is finally released from the orphanage that raised him. Determined to avenge his father's death, Amsterdam makes his way back to the volatile Five Points to track down Cutting and exact revenge.

As he gradually infiltrates Bill the Butcher's camp and earns the crazed gangster's respect, he must also contend with the tumultuous, but beautiful, Jenny Everdean (Cameron Diaz).

Lewis was nominated for his third Academy Award but was beaten by Adien Brody for his performance in The Pianist.

Set over a twenty year period Lewis' new movie Will Be Blood follows Daniel Plainview, who rises from a lowly silver miner to become a successful oil baron.

Following a tip from a visitor named Paul Sunday, whose family sits atop a veritable ocean of oil, Plainview travels to the town of New Boston, California, with his young son

Sunday’s preacher brother Eli (both roles are played by the excellent Paul Dano) grudgingly accepts Plainview’s ambitions under the condition that he help fund the town church.

As Plainview’s plans come to fruition, a series of events begin to fracture the insular world he has constructed for himself, pitting Plainview against Sunday and forcing him to become even more vindictive and ruthless.

After scooping the Golden Globe and the more recent Screen Actors Guild award he is now red hot favourite to win the Oscar after securing a nomination.

There Will Be Blood is released 15th February

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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