I remember vividly the first time I became aware of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was watching Scent of a Woman (image above) and every time Hoffman put in an appearance as the weasely, cowardly classmate of Chris O'Donnell, I found myself riveted by this minor character.
In this film, and so many others, Hoffman brings a sense of expectation to the character's inner workings. His pauses, exclamations, his graceful naturalness all draw the audience towards his performances. He manages to steal scenes, to have a major presence without seeming to exert himself.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson's expansive ensemble film about the adult film industry in transition has many incredible performances. It is a tribute to Hoffman that, in the middle of all these great performances, he managed to deliver a break out performance as Scottie J, a boom operator who develops a crush on Eddie Adams, the main character.
Hoffman won the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance as Truman Capote. The film shows off Hoffman's ability to transform himself into a character unlike any other that he played before or since. Hoffman is fascinating not only in the scenes where he is the center but also in the scenes where he is still, listening to the stories of others, as Capote works to uncover the story of a small town murder and write his most well known novel.
Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and Amy Adams all received Academy Award nominations for their performances in this film adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize winning play. Hoffman's performance as a conflicted priest is central to the film.
Super creative writer/director Charlie Kaufman's movie about a theater director creating a life sized version of New York populated with actors in a warehouse as an artistic project and how the lines between his art and his life begin to blur together in dangerous ways.
A confusing, riveting and rewarding film anchored by a stunning leading performance by Hoffman.
Once again Philip Seymour Hoffman is delivering a great performance in a Paul Thomas Anderson film. This time he scored an Oscar nomination (as did Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix) as a cult leader who draws an alcoholic veteran into his orbit.
Hoffman takes us into the difficult world of this charismatic leader and shows us both the man's charisma and faultlines.