2. Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
THE MASTER, CAPOTE, HAPPINESS, MAGNOLIA, DOUBT, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR, A MOST WANTED MAN, STATE AND MAIN
If, in one-hundred years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science is the way cinephiles measure the films of yesterday (please, please don’t let that be the case), then Philip Seymour Hoffman’s crowning achievement will always be his eponymous portrayal of writer Truman Capote. And while Capote is a fine film, Hoffman’s strongest work will always be his character studies, delving into roles less flashy than Truman Capote but roiling with suffering and self-doubt. From scene-stealing scumbags (see: Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley or Hoffman’s brief but captivating scene in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Hard Eight), to meatier, more meditative roles (his inimitable work in The Master is the most apparent, though Hoffman’s enlightening performances in The Savages and Happiness have left an indelible impression on me), the specificity of Hoffman’s quirks (specifically, the oddly soothing, muted timbre of his voice) made him a character actor that could turn any archetype into a fully formed, recognizable person.