Philip Seymour Hoffman: His five best movie roles

Posted on 7 February 2014
By Craig Kell
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As Hollywood mourns the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was regarded by many as one of the great modern day actors, we pay tribute to the late Oscar-winning star’s career.

Purple Revolver has decided to take a look back on five of the 46-year-old’s best movie roles and wonders what he would have treated us to in the future.

1. Scent of a Woman (1992)

This was Philip’s big screen breakthrough appearance, with an eye-catching role as slimy college prefect George Willis Jr in Martin Brest’s majestic drama Scent of a Woman.

Although he ended up being overshadowed by a memorable Oscar-winning performance from Al Pacino, Hoffman showed how capable he was when it came to playing morally ambiguous characters.

2. Boogie Nights (1997)

Hoffman’s underrated talent began to take shape with his role as closet homosexual Scotty J in Paul Thomas Anderson’s porn drama Boogie Nights.

Whilst he made a few of us cringe with his tight clothes and bizarre yet subtle obsession with Mark Wahlberg’s character Dirk Diggler, Scotty still triggered sympathy from his audiences which enabled Hoffman to prove how effective he could be amongst an all-star cast.

3. Capote (2005)

After spending years as a supporting actor to starrier names like Al Pacino, Tom Cruise and Matt Damon, Hoffman finally showcased his potential as a great leading man with his multi-award winning role as real-life author Truman Capote in the biopic drama Capote.

Completely unrecognisable with his appearance as well as talking in a squeaky voice, the slick portrayal helped him secure the Best Actor Oscar over equally stunning performances from the likes of the late Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) and Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line).

He would go on to receive three more nominations during the last nine years of his tragically short life.

4. Doubt (2008)

Now seen by many as one of Hollywood’s best performers, Hoffman continued to lavish in critical praise with his dark turn in the religious drama Doubt.

His performance as charming yet secretive priest Father Brendan Flynn, a man accused of assaulting a choirboy, did attract a bit bit of controversy.

However he was still allowed to showcase his talent alongside other high-profile names like Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in this well-acted film.

5. The Master (2012)

In what was his last great performance, Hoffman produced a mesmerising turn as Scientology cult leader Lancaster Dodd in Paul Thomas Anderson’s diverse drama The Master.

Sharing the screen with an equally brilliant Joaquin Phoenix, Hoffman charmed his audiences with his role as this intelligent individual who best described himself as a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher. In other words, an astonishing man.

It was probably fitting that out of all the five collaborations he did with director Anderson, his turn in The Master was possibly the best of the lot.

It was also further proof that he could have continued to provide more incredible work had it not been for his untimely death.