Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York)

Best Actor

2003 wins: Chicago Film Critics, Florida Film Critics, Golden Satellite, Kansas City Film Critics, Las Vegas Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, New York Film Critics, Online Film Critics, Seattle Film Critics

Oscar pedigree: Won: “My Left Foot” (1990); nominated: “In the Name of the Father” (1994)

Day-Lewis on his longtime absence from acting: “I’ve always felt a great sense of disappointment, and it’s taken me longer and longer to overcome it. There’s always a general sense of having fallen short. It always seems terribly small to me, so to be honest, I’m not sure I’d like to do it again. I have no plans to work on a film any time soon. I’ve managed to avoid it for the past five years.”

What we said: “A scary, galvanizing presence here with his massive moustache and chops, plastered-down hair and one good eye, Day-Lewis succeeds in making Bill the Butcher into a surprisingly rounded figure one can understand without ever forgetting his malevolence.” — Todd McCarthy (Dec. 6)

What others said: “This is a triumphant return to the screen for Day-Lewis after his five-year break, reputedly partly spent in Florence pursuing the craft of the shoemakers. But who cares what he’s been doing with himself when he makes a comeback as stunning as this?” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

This could be the night: He’s considered by many an actor’s actor and managed to make the role larger than life.

Then comes the rub: By appearing in films every four to five years, some may believe he doesn’t dedicate himself enough to the craft.

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