Phillip Seymour Hoffman ’s last movie since his passing, God’s Pocket, is to be released in the UK on 8 August. The late actor stars as Mickey Scarpato, a gritty 1970’s blue collar worker who attempts to cover up the ‘accidental’ death of his step-son, leaving Mickey in over his head with a truth he doesn’t want to face and a debt he can’t afford to pay. In celebration of Hoffman’s brilliant life work, here’s a look at the Oscar-winner’s best performances:
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
Phillip Seymour Hoffman shows off his comedic talents in his role as Lebowski’s smug butler in this cult favourite crime film. Hoffman succeeds in pulling of this supporting role as Brandt, the plotting and devious sycophant to his filthy rich employers. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Hoffman revealed that although a small role, this was one of his favourites to play in his 22 year career. The Big Lebowski fans haven’t forgotten Hoffman’s role either, although he was only on screen for a few minutes, fans still recognize him as ‘Brant,’ almost a decade later and despite all his other blockbuster roles.
Hoffman’s critically acclaimed portrayal of Truman Capote, won Hoffman an Academy Award for Best Actor in 2005. Hoffman’s character Truman is a novelist who sets off to write about the murder of a Kansas family, and ends up befriending Perry Smith, one of the killers. Hoffman perfectly portrays Truman’s immodest and self-aggrandized character, earning him universal praise. Hoffman won additional awards for this role including the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Hoffman’s performance is undeniably remarkable, and a bright highlight of his career.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III
After winning an Oscar for Capote, Hoffman successfully tackled a new genre of film in the action movie starring Tom Cruise. Hoffman plays Owen Davian, the dark and damnable villain. His ability to portray Davian as simultaneously terrifying and intriguing helped make this one of the most popular films in the Mission Impossible franchise.
In 2008 Hoffman stars alongside an A-list cast including Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Hoffman plays Father Brendan Flynn, a priest accused by the Catholic school principle to have a questionable relationship with one of the students. Hoffman is able to give a performance that keeps the audience guessing ‘is he innocent or guilty?’ maintaining just the right balance of both. The movie is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Doubt: A Parable. Hoffman delivered yet another critically acclaimed performance here, and was nominated for an Oscar at the 81st Academy Awards.
THE IDES OF MARCH
In this American political drama directed by George Clooney, Hoffman stars alongside Ryan Gosling and Paul Giamatti, as the Democratic presidential campaign manager, and mentor to Stephen Meyers; Paul Zara. Although only a supporting actor, Hoffman is considered by many to outshine both Clooney and Gosling in his portrayal of Paul Zara as the shady and corrupt hard-bitten boss in this thriller filled with scandal and betrayal. This role earned Hoffman a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the 65th British Academy Film Awards.
Here Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, a cult leader gathering worshipers in his fifth film collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson. The film tells the story of a World War II veteran who returns home only to struggle to his post-war environment. This all changes when he meets Dodd, the leader of the religious movement dubbed ‘The Cause.’ The Master is considered to be one of Hoffman’s best starring roles which he delivers a deep and powerful performance that showcased the breadth and depth of his acting abilities.
In God’s Pocket, Hoffman portrays Mickey Scarpato, an unpopular but respected criminal in his working-class neighbourhood in Philadelphia. When Scarpato’s rude and vulgar step-son Leon is found dead on a construction site, no one seems to shed a tear except Scarpato’s wife Jeanie. Promising his wife that he will look into the truth behind Leon’s death, Scarpato gets caught up in various misfortunes and calamities. As one of Hoffman’s last performances in his near two decade career, he brilliantly portrays the woes of a broken and damaged man. [read our God’s Pocket Review]