Top 5 Philip Seymour Hoffman Performances

By Nick Ewing

The world was in shock and mourning after Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. He was found in his New York City apartment, a needle in his arm and surrounded by several bags believed to have contained heroin. The actor was a recovering addict who had been sober for over 20 years, but checked himself into rehab after relapsing last May.

He was 46 years old. Despite his personal demons, his impact on Hollywood and the film industry is undeniable. Between 2006 and 2013, the actor was nominated for four Oscars, taking one home for his performance in Capote (2005). His ability to give incredible performances made him remarkable, even in smaller supporting roles. Take a look back at five of his greatest and most important performances of his career as one of America’s favorite actors.

5. Synecdoche, New York

     Phillip Seymour Hoffman portrayed struggling playwright Caden Cotard in 2008’s Synecdoche, a film Roger Ebert said was the greatest film of the 2000s. The film blurs the lines between reality, dreams, and expectations, searching for the meaning of life and the reasons for human pain. It’s arguably Hoffman’s most powerful performance. No other actor could have embodied Cotard as he did. The film is almost eerie to watch now that Hoffman has passed away because his character is obsessed with creating something meaningful before his death.

4. Boogie Nights 

    Widely considered his breakout role, Phillip Seymour Hoffman played a gay boom operator who had a big crush on Mark Wahlberg’s character, a young porn star. He captured perfectly the essence of a nervous and awkward young man. He may have not had much screen time, but his performance is powerful and an undeniably important part of the film.

3. The Master 

    In 2012, he played alongside Joaquin Phoenix as the leader of an up-and-coming religious cult in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Again, Hoffman portrayed a sort of father figure for the lead protagonist, giving such an incredible performance that it netted him an Oscar nomination.

2. Almost Famous

     He played famous music journalist Lester Bangs in 2000s Almost Famous. He was a tough, drug-abusing mentor to the young protagonist, William. His presence undoubtedly changed the film, and is an example of how well he played supporting characters.

1. Capote 

     Phillip Seymour Hoffman played the lead in 2005’s Capote, what might have been his most extreme transformation as an actor. In the film, he plays the famous author who developed a strange and close relationship with a convicted murderer about whom he was writing. He was nominated for an academy award for his performance and won in 2006.