LOS ANGELES – We know Abraham Lincoln had a sense of humor.
But when Daniel Day-Lewis grabbed his chair at the BAFTA Britannia awards on Wednesday night and plunked it on stage next to the podium, we almost couldn’t believe our eyes. Day-Lewis? #Eastwooding?
The Lincoln star, who was honored with the Stanley Kubrick Britannia award for Excellence in Film, seemed to be in a playful mood, saying he was “groggy” from watching election results on CNN until 2 a.m. “I have to say, I’m so extremely grateful and glad that, taking time out of his very busy schedule, the recently re-elected president of this country was able to make it,” joked Day-Lewis, gesturing to the empty chair beside him in the Beverly Hilton ballroom. “I know as an Englishman it’s absolutely none of my business, but I’m so very grateful that it was you.”
As the audience laughed, the two-time Oscar winner took a moment to explain his satirical impulse, which mirrored the viral Twitter trend after Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention. “I respect Eastwood and this isn’t a comment on his politics,” said the actor. “But when I saw him talking to a chair in front of a room full of strangers, I thought, ‘I’ve got to try that. That’s a challenge.’ “
It was certainly an entertaining, if early, start to awards season, which prognosticators say may well feature many speeches from Day-Lewis, thanks to his indelible portrayal of the 16th U.S. president.
On a more serious note, Lincoln director Steven Spielberg praised Day-Lewis as “an actor that would have achieved unprecedented recognition no matter when he was born.”
“When the cameras are rolling,” Spielberg continued, “Daniel turns sideways into the light and disappears.”
The 2012 Britannia Awards were hosted by Alan Cumming, and also feted Daniel Craig, Quentin Tarantino, South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone and video game designer Will Wright. The awards show will air on BBC America on Sunday.
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