Daniel Day-Lewis was honored for his career achievements at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in California on Saturday.
The actor, who is tipped for success at this year's Oscars for his role in Steven Spielberg's epic Lincoln, was handed the prestigious Montecito Award, and Day-Lewis reminisced about his work during a question and answer session at the event.
Addressing his choice to take roles in several historical movies, the actor admitted, "It certainly was never my intention to kind of claw my way through one century after another. I hope that I might eventually emerge in the 21st century. I've still got a long way to go."
"I've no idea how that happened. It wouldn't have been my intention. In fact, most of the performances that have influenced me have been contemporary performances..."
Day-Lewis is famed for the long gaps between his projects, and he adds, "I cannot do the work I love to do unless I take time away from it. In the time taken away from it when - god forbid - I re-engage with life; It allows me to do the work in hopes that I might bring something to that work."