An actor often bombarded by parody, Sir Michael Caine could be making his way back into the minds of Oscar voters with his new film, Youth, that premiered this week at the Cannes Film Festival to widespread critical acclaim. What would be most considerable if he were to be nominated would be that it would mean that Caine would have been Oscar nominated in 6 consecutive decades, something that no actor has ever done, overtaking Sir Laurence Olivier, Paul Newman and Jack Nicholson in becoming the actor with the most nominations in different decades (they all are currently on 5, along with Caine, except Newman’s weren’t consecutive). Yet, Caine is never considered to be an actor of the standards of these, or any where near the quality of actors that many consider to be the best of all time, such as De Niro, Brando, Day-Lewis and Hopkins. Instead, Caine is seen as one of those actors who doesn’t have a great range or talents to put himself among the elite. But with 2 Oscars under his belt from 6 nominations, 3 Golden Globes from 12 nominations and 1 Bafta plus a fellowship from 8 nominations, doesn’t he deserve more respect?
Since The Trip showed Steve Coogan’s and Rob Brydon’s Michael Caine impression off, Caine has been seen as a parody, and you can hardly mention his name without the response being “My name is Michael Caine” in a shaky Cockney accent. Caine is more than this, as shown in his diverse film range. Sure, he has been known to play for the paycheck (see his story on why he took on his role in Jaws: The Revenge), but Caine still manages to take on meaty roles and interesting projects, with him co-starring in the 2014 Christopher Nolan Sci-Fi Interstellar, a performance which is highly underrated as it is overshadowed by the bigger names in the cast. But, as proof with Youth, Caine is not one to give up on his acting career in his older age, unlike other actors such as Robert De Niro.
Youth has seen Caine being given some of the best reviews of his career, with many considering that it is his best performance since his Oscar-nominated turn in The Quiet American. I obviously haven’t seen the film as it has only premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, but from the trailer, I am very much looking forward to seeing it. Will it live up to the hype? Let’s hope so, and we can already see Caine is a heavy favourite to win the Cannes Best Actor prize, having failed to win 49 years ago with his Oscar-nominated turn in Alfie. But does that mean that he is a shoe-in to be Oscar nominated in February? Hardly, as seen by last year’s winner, Timothy Spall, not receiving a single major nomination in the Best Actor category during last year’s awards season, even losing out on an Oscar nomination to Steve Carell, whom he beat to the Best Actor prize at Cannes. I’d doubt that Caine would lose out to any other Cannes actors to an Oscar nod, but he could still find it difficult to sneak into a field full of hefty contenders.
Those in the Best Actor fight next year could be Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, as he hunts for his first Oscar win; Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs, for which the trailer was released earlier this week; Jake Gyllenhaal in Demolition, trying to get revenge for his Nightcrawler snub; Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, aiming for his second consecutive Oscar win and Johnny Depp in Black Mass, a transformative role that could be Depp’s first Oscar recognition since 2007’s Sweeney Todd. Caine is currently at number 20 in the Awards Circuit Oscar predictions, but does have an advantage in the sense that his film has been seen and his performance has been met with critical acclaim while the others could have a Sea of Trees-type meltdown and is undeserving of it’s buzz.
So, if Sir Michael Caine were to be nominated for Youth, will he be considered as one of the greatest actors of all time, considering the fact that no actor has ever scored nominations in 6 decades, let alone consecutively. Probably not, but it is time that a truly great thespian gets his due as one of the finest to grace the screen, something that he should have been getting ever since he received his second Oscar in 2000 for The Cider House Rules.