DANIEL DAY-LEWIS triumphed again last night – winning the Bafta for Best Actor for his starring role in Lincoln.
The actor, who plays the assassinated US President in Steven Spielberg’s political biopic, has already won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor’s Guild award for the role and is hot favourite to carry off an Oscar later this month.
Accepting his award, Day-Lewis poked fun at his own reputation for immersing himself in his characters and his devotion to method acting.
Day-Lewis, who reportedly refused to leave his wheelchair while playing the disabled Christy Brown in My Left Foot, 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 fifties, 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.”
Day-Lewis was joined at the event by some of the biggest names in Hollywood, who braved the wind, rain and sleet to meet fans on the red carpet outside the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.
Performers including Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence and Eddie Redmayne stopped to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Dame Helen Mirren sported dyed pink hair.
The first big award for Outstanding British Film went to the latest James Bond adventure, Skyfall.
The movie, the third starring Daniel Craig as the suave spy, is already the highest-grossing film of all time at the UK box office.
Its director Sam Mendes paid tribute to the “bravery and brilliance” of Craig and “the great” Ian Fleming, who created the character of Bond.
It also won the award for Best Original Music.
The award for Original Screenplay went to Quentin Tarantino for his western Django Unchained. One of its stars, Christoph Waltz, also won the award for Best Supporting Actor and paid tribute to Tarantino who he described as a “silver-penned” writer.
The award for Special Visual Effects, went to the 3D spectacular Life Of Pi.
George Clooney presented the award for Supporting Actress to Les Miserables star Anne Hathaway.
The actress thanked the “golden-hearted group” who made the film.
She also thanked Victor Hugo – the writer of the original novel which inspired the musical – saying: “Without whom, none of us would be here.”
Ben Affleck was named Best Director by Ian McKellen for his work on Argo which was also named Best Film.
Affleck, who rose to fame as an actor, said: “I want to say this is a second act for me and you’ve given me that, this industry has given me that and I want to thank you and I’m so grateful and proud.”
The award for Film Not in the English Language went to Amour and one of its stars, Emmanuelle Riva was named Best Actress.
The ceremony ended with the awarding of a special Bafta Fellowship to filmmaker Sir Alan Parker. Sir Alan, who made films including Midnight Express and Bugsy Malone during a long career, said the award was “incredibly flattering”.
He said: “When you’re halfway through your first film you’re sure it’s going to be your last then you blink and 40 years have gone by and you’ve made 14 films”.