Still catching up with my Oscar slate, and last night’s foray was Phillip Noyce’s remake of The Quiet American. All in all, very well done, and a battered, despairing Michael Caine deserves an Oscar for this much more than he ever did for his turn in the schlocky Cider House Rules. (As I said last week, though, the Best Actor field this year is very, very strong, and I still think Day-Lewis has the edge – having not yet seen any of the movies featuring Best Actress nominees, I can’t really comment on the women.) Brendan Fraser is also quite good, and the political dimension of the story (i.e. America’s involvement in sponsoring Vietnamese terrorism) is very well-integrated with the dramatic tale being told. If anything, the film slipped in the ratings to the right only because (a) The Pianist was better, or at least more powerful, (b) I found this film a bit slow in the first hour, partly because the tale begins at the end with the death of the “quiet” American (not much of a spoiler – it’s almost the first shot in the film), and thus much of the dramatic tension in the story has already been siphoned off, and (c) the “Vietnam is a woman” allegory is a bit heavy-handed – the audience can pick up on what’s going on without it being stated over and over again. But it’s worth seeing, and Michael Caine is magnificent.