Critics, fellow actors, and fans alike were shocked to hear of Philip Seymour Hoffman's passing earlier today. The Academy Award winning actor was found dead in his NYC apartment of an apparent drug overdose. Hoffman had checked into rehab for a brief stint last year after admitting to taking pills and using heroine. Hoffman was 46 and left behind his life partner and three children.
Aside from the tragic way that Hoffman died, we hope that he will be remembered most for being a true and unrelenting talent. He had worked extensively in Hollywood for the past twenty three years garnering an Oscar win in 2005 for his role as Truman Capote in Capote and also earning three other nominations. Perhaps more than the awards or the notoriety, a true marker of Hoffman's greatness was to permeate through a scene whether he was the lead character or just a supporting player. Hoffman understood human nature and that knowledge transcended through every character he played.
Let's reflect on the moments when Hoffman shined the brightest. It was in these instances, these brief glimpses into the subtext of the character, that Hoffman pulled us in and made us truly believe he was Truman Capote or Plutarch Heavensbee. From The Big Lebowski to Charlie Wilson's War, his unparalleled work is captured forever for us in these various scenes.
In Doubt as Father Flynn. Here he delivers a sermon on gossip, passive aggressively retorting Meryl Streep's relentless character who accused him of being intimate with a young school boy.
In Charlie Wilson's War as Gust. Hoffman plays the underdog, perhaps the smartest man in the operation who gets the least credit and is fed up with the lack of respect he receives.
In Capote as Truman Capote. Hoffman unravels as the emotionally unstable author is faced with reality.
In Almost Famous as Lester Bangs. Here he delivers possibly one of the greatest pop culture monologues which still resonates with us fourteen years later. It's cool to be uncool.
In The Big Lebowski as Brandt. The "yes man" character of Brandt is one that is so perfectly opposite Hoffman's usual dark or complicated roles that to see him act apprehensively and timidly is delightfully refreshing.