He's the first to ever win the best actor Oscar three times. He's been nominated five times, winning for "My Left Foot" in 1990 and "There Will Be Blood" in 2008.
Day-Lewis spent a year preparing for "Lincoln," and, in his customary method, remained in character during the production. His widely-expected Oscar win further cements his status as the most admired actor currently working.
The other nominees Sunday night were Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Miserables"), Joaquin Phoenix ("The Master") and Denzel Washington ("Flight").
The 85th Academy Awards are airing live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles with host Seth MacFarlane.