Michael Caine did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jasper Palmer in Children of Men.
Caine based his performance on John Lennon and this certainly can be seen easily through the long locks Caine sports in the film. This extends past that though as Caine imitates the certain body language that Lennon had such as the way he would focus or his eyes or just the way he would bend over. This can almost be taken for granted though as Caine never makes a big deal out of these mannerisms but rather just quietly uses them to help establish the particularly artist flamboyancy of Jasper. Caine does splendid work here most importantly by being the only guy who seems to be genuinely happy in the film, and even Jasper has plenty to be sad about such as his wife being in basically a comatose state. Caine though portrays the part of Jasper as the sort of guy who tries to be happy no matter what the situation as he brings such a natural glee in the part. There just a genuine warmth about everything Caine does and he does do a fantastic job of being one of the particularly colorful spots in a grey world.
It's actually rather interesting since the role of Jasper is relatively simple as he only has two sequences in which he appears. In both he tells a few jokes while delivering a bit of exposition and giving the most proper definition of being a supporting character. Caine though shows exactly how to do such a role through his exceptionally endearing portrayal of Jasper. When delivering lines about the governments oppression, the theories behind what has caused the infertility problems, how Theo and his wife met, or just very simply setting up where the next sequence of action will go Caine simply is terrific. Caine never makes these moments seem forced or at all just there to serve the plot. He also brings so much life in the character of Jasper that in these explanations he offers that of the view of a man actually having lived in the world. In addition to that Caine has just the right bit of fun when Jasper tells his often rather uncouth jokes. Caine is certainly entertaining and enjoyable, and again makes Jasper's whole style just come to life.
I would not have minded if the film had included more of Jasper since Caine is such a delight in the role. The funny thing is I always for some reason think Caine has more screen time than he does because of the impact he makes in the little time he does have. I think his very best scene shows exactly just how much Caine does with just a little bit of material. The scene is when Jasper is going to mercy kill his comatose wife just before the violent rebels looking for Theo are going to show up. It's a short moment but so beautifully handled by Caine. There such a tenderness Caine brings as Jasper says goodbye by telling his wife that he loves her one last time, and even though we never see their past Caine makes the moment perfectly heartbreaking. Caine succeeds in enlivening every second he is onscreen, and he gives a particularly memorable turn here. Caine establishes Jasper as the bright spot on the film making his final moments as disconcerting as they should be. I love Caine's performance here and it is a great example of making a small role seem grand.