Michael Caine (The Quiet American)

Best Actor

2003 wins: Golden Satellite Award, San Francisco Film Critics

Oscar pedigree: Won: “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1987), “The Cider House Rules” (2000); nominated: “Alfie” (1966), “Sleuth” (1972), “Educating Rita” (1983)

Caine on aging: “You get better roles as you get older because older people are more interesting. I used to get the girl and now I get the role. What aging gives you is a freedom that you didn’t have as a movie star, when every hair had to be in place.”

What we said: “Fowler reps one of Caine’s meatiest roles, and he handles it with power, humanity and remarkable emotional fluidity; from the opening moments, an enormous amount comes through his eyes alone.” — Todd McCarthy (Sept. 8)

What the others said: “Caine, in one of his finest performances, shows us the desperation beneath Fowler’s practiced politeness and cynicism.” — Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

This could be the night: Caine remains one of the medium’s most enduring leading men without a best actor Oscar on his mantle.

Then comes the rub: The film’s political slant might work against it.

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