Today would have been Philip Seymour Hoffman's 50th birthday.
Arguably one of the greatest actors of the modern age, Hoffman's acting range was unparalleled and his commitment to each and every role was self-evident. His talent oozed out of the screen with every film he participated in. Here's Phillip Seymour Hoffman's best scenes...
5. CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR - "Excuse me, what the f**k?"
Nobody could do over-the-top tirades like Philip Seymour Hoffman, and this particular outburst from the otherwise humdrum Charlie Wilson's War is proof of that. Playing the coarse, but honest CIA agent Gus Avrakotos, he's introduced in this one scene with the always dependable John Slattery after he's been passed over for a position overseas. While it adds absolutely nothing to the story, it introduces Hoffman's character into it in a way that lets you know exactly who he is and what he's about.
4. ALMOST FAMOUS - "I'm always home, I'm uncool."
Almost Famous has served as an inspiration to many young journalists - this one included - and will continue to do so for many years to come. Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical tale of a young writer who's caught up in the hedonistic world of '70s stadium rock was a critical smash and cemented Crowe's reputation as a director with real heart. Hoffman was cast as real-life rock journalist Lester Bangs, who serves both as a mentor and a voice of empathy to Patrick Fugit's far-too-young journalist. In this touching scene, Bangs imparts some wisdom to the young writer about being uncool and learning to live with it.
3. BOOGIE NIGHTS - "Why'd you do that, Scotty?!"
Although Hoffman had a supporting role in Boogie Nights, his portrayal of a troubled cameraman is particularly haunting. Desperate to gain the affection of Dirk, played by Mark Wahlberg, Hoffman's character goes out and buys an identical car to Dirk's in an attempt to bond with him. The results aren't to his liking and Hoffman's subsequent breakdown is manic. The scene is cringe, but it has the perfect balance of humour, bleakness and desperation that courses through the entire film.
2. DOUBT - "What do you when you're not sure?"
As a film, it's fair to say that Doubt probably worked better as a theatrical play than it did as a film. Nevertheless, the performances in the film are fantastic. Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman all turn in nuanced and deeply human portrayals of people trying to do their best when constrained by outside forces, be it societal conventions or the Catholic Church at large. Hoffman plays a young liberal priest, whilst Streep plays a domineering nun who has her suspicions about Hoffman's character. The opening scene - in which Hoffman's character delivers a sermon about the nature of community and suffering - encapsulates the film whole and shows what a talent Hoffman had for commanding a scene.
1. CAPOTE - "That's all I want to hear from you."
Hoffman's only Oscar was for Capote. That's what so tragic about his passing - that he had so much more to do and give. Playing a character like Truman Capote is challenging, to say the least. Capote was difficult, yet brilliant. The line between telling a story and manipulating it from a source is explored throughout the film as well as Capote's own dichotomies. Was he using the subject of his book - the murderer Perry Smith - to his own advantage? Or was he trying to get him to confess and tell his story? In this scene, Capote truly drives home how he little cared about Smith.