DANIEL DAY-LEWIS: Thank you so much for this. Forgive me if I ramble a little bit. When I was starting out, we were led to believe quite clearly that our futures, if we were lucky enough to work, were going to be in the theater. And if we did okay at that, if we were really lucky, we might get to do the classic roles. And that was the rite of passage. That was like the fiery hoop through which you had to leap if you were going to be taken seriously.
And I had the right nose for that. [laughter] And there were a few people who had ambitions on my behalf that wanted to dress it up in a, you know, doublet and hose, and have me strutting around.
But I had a guilty secret. Because I’d seen "A Place in the Sun." I’d seen "From Here to Eternity," "On the Waterfront," "A Streetcar…", "Night of the Hunter." I’d seen all of the spaghetti westerns. I’d been to all-night "Dirty Harry" sessions. [laughter] You know, it was like a group of grungy guys would emerge into the half-dawn, bleary-eyed, trying to kind of be loose-limbed and mean and taciturn.
And I’d seen "French Connection," "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," "The Godfather." And my secret hope, my great hope, which — and at that time from where I came from, there weren’t many actors getting a chance to do this — but I wanted, if possible, to make a contribution to this tradition. And I’m so grateful that I’ve been allowed the chance to do that.
From the moment I first set foot in this country, my colleagues, my fellow actors, have shown me generosity and friendship and great encouragement. I can’t thank you enough for that. I salute, with the greatest respects, my fellow nominees, both men and women, in all categories. It’s been a wonderful thing to be included amongst you this year. It feels like a fine year.
And I would like to salute the supremely gifted and gracious and sweet Leonardo Di Caprio and Cameron Diaz. [applause] My old friend Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, the great John C. Reilly — where is he? [applause] He’s a terrible man because he has this habit of making all the actors around him look like they’re acting. [laughter]
And Harvey Graham, I’m going to say thank you to later on. I’ll thank you for this. But tonight, I would just like to thank the actors that have allowed me this wonderful life. Thank you. Thank you very much.