That was a polished acceptance speech by Daniel Day Lewis, something we have come to expect as much as his Oscar winning performances, this time for Lincoln. The only actor to win three of those familiar statuettes. While the rest of the prize winners sounded either entirely too earnest or distressingly vacuous, DDL's speech included the word "apex" and tongue in cheek connected with Margaret Thatcher and presenter Meryl Streep, in a witty interlude that livened up a rather staid Oscar ceremony. Well, Quentin Tarantino will take exception and Jennifer Lawrence's trip on her way to the stage provided a bit of a gasp.
Streep, the grand dame of Hollywood, no stranger to record breaking accolades herself, moved off the podium hand in hand with DDL, looking pleased as punch at being acknowledged by a peer.
His persona is so removed from the terraces of Millwall FC, long one of the redoubts of British hooliganism and still proudly stoking the embers of that ugly legacy. DDL was one of them in the early 80s and he credits that spinal stiffening experience as critical to his artistic success.
"I supported Millwall with great gusto and was on the terraces every Saturday with the rest of the lads."
That experience was central to his taking on roles that pushed boundaries.
" It was such an important part of my life that, give my parents their due, they did not deprive me of. Even though their experiences were very far removed from what I was experiencing, in that neither of them would ever have considered setting foot on the terraces of the Den, both of them were completely open and believed that, as much as they were part of this society, there was work that had to be done to break down its rigid demarcations."
His rousing performance as Johnny in "My Beautiful Laundrette" got me started on my DDL addiction. And he brought his Millwall mojo to My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, Gangs of New York, There Will be Blood, and most recently Lincoln. For Gangs, this was a particularly vexatious period as Day- Lewis contracted pneumonia and then struggled to find the physical and mental strength to keep up with the film.
" And I will admit that I went mad, totally mad. I remembered the days of fighting on the Millwall terraces and they stood me in good stead for Bill the Butcher. He was a bit of a punk, a marvellous character and a joy to be - but not so good for my physical or mental health."
Millwall, you may not play the prettiest football, you sometimes behave atrociously on and off the pitch, but you must have done something right in shaping the career of film's most consummate thespian. Take a bow.