Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on the morning of February 2, 2014.
Best known for his Oscar-winning performance in "Capote," Hoffman was an incredibly gifted actor on both the stage and screen. His career began in 1991 with an episode of “Law and Order,” but took off after his role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s "Boogie Nights." His repeated collaboration with Anderson is one of the many things that sticks out in Hoffman’s extensive filmography. He appeared in almost all of the writer-director’s films, including "Magnolia," "Punch Drunk Love" and 2012’s "The Master," in which Hoffman gives one of the biggest performances of his — or any — career. He recently directed and starred in "Jack Goes Boating," which his first time behind the camera. His last film was "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."
Hoffman never lacked critical adoration, especially after the success of "Capote." He received four Academy Award nominations in the past decade and won one — Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2006 for his performance in "Capote." In a review of the 2012 Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman," in which Hoffman starred as Willy Loman, New York Times critic Ben Brantley called him “one of the finest actors of his generation." Hoffman was, and should be, in the running for finest actor of any generation, not because of loud scenery chewing or showy transformations, but because he was a genuine artist and collaborator. Even when he finally got the recognition he deserved, Hoffman was never too good for the material or his costars. He’s as fun to watch in the goofier stuff as he is compelling in the heavy.
One of the best things about watching Hoffman act is that it never looks like he’s acting. He truly became every character he played. He could do big roles as well as anyone. "Capote" could have been one of those dime-a-dozen biopics where the actor chooses one or two social tics and and an accent and runs with it. But In "Capote," Hoffman recreated a real person rather than a caricature of one. His Truman Capote has completely fleshed out reactions, desires and emotions, where a lesser actor would have focused on just the voice or sexuality. And Hoffman nails that too, of course. It’s amazing to hear how perfectly he mimics his subject, not just the voice, but the way he straightens his glasses, the way he drinks and the way he lies. Nothing is motiveless in a Hoffman performance.
Philip Seymour Hoffman had the energy to blow Meryl Streep offscreen, but the intelligence to know exactly how to use it. When he worked, it was like he was holding a nuclear reactor: he had limitless raw power, but complete control over how much he let out. That's why Hoffman was as great as he was — he always knew exactly what to do. That’s what made him the master.