Daniel Day-Lewis in 'Lincoln' is only the most recent actor to land awards nominations for portraying a historical or contemporary figure.
Of course, this isn't the first time an Oscar front-runner has played a historical figure. While Day-Lewis's portrayal has been described as "mesmerizing" and "monumental," there's a long history of actors who have taken home statuettes for portraying real people.
In 2011, Meryl Streep earned her third Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." (Streep, noted for her ability to disappear into a role, had been nominated two years before for portraying chef Julia Child in the 2009 movie "Julie & Julia"; and that was the year Sandra Bullock won for playing real-life football mom Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side.") In 2010, Best Actor winner Colin Firth, Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo, and Best Supporting Actor Christian Bale all garnered awards for playing real people – Firth as King George VI in "The King's Speech" and Leo and Bale as mother and son Alice Ward and Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter." And that's only in the past three years.