My Left Foot (1989)
Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan
If they handed out Oscars for simply walking down the street, Daniel Day-Lewis would have a closetful of them. But his first brush with Academy Award glory came courtesy of My Left Foot, the story of Christy Brown, a man who was born with cerebral palsy yet found success as an artist and writer utilizing the one limb over which he had control.
While it’s a story that could be considered easy Oscar bait in the hands (or foot) of most other actors, Day-Lewis’ performance is at once heartbreaking and inspiring. (Though one would hardly expect less from the man who would be Lincoln.) The film also kick-started the actor’s longtime collaboration with director Jim Sheridan, with whom he successfully partnered again on the equally praise-worthy In the Name of the Father (also based on a true story) and The Boxer.