Philip Seymour Hoffman Is Still ‘The Master’: Remembering His 15 Best Film Performances

It’s been eight years since we lost the incredible Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the hole in the industry still looms large.  

With a career that spanned over three decades, Hoffman worked alongside several masters both in front and behind the camera. The New York-born actor was a staple of some of Paul Thomas Anderson’s most fascinating works. These included an expansive look at the porn industry with “Boogie Nights” (1997), a character mosaic of love and loss with “Magnolia” (1999), wild expose on social anxiety with “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002) and a look at the beginnings of a cult in “The Master” (2012). 

He also worked with filmmakers such as Sidney Lumet (“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”), Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (“The Big Lebowski”) and Charlie Kaufman (“Synecdoche, New York”).  

An actor’s actor, he shared the screen with the likes of Oscar-winners Al Pacino (“Scent of a Woman”), Paul Newman (“Nobody’s Fool”), Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (“Charlie Wilson’s War”), George Clooney (“The Ides of March”), Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”), Nicole Kidman (“Cold Mountain”) and Robin Williams (“Patch Adams”). 

Hoffman didn’t shy away from the consumer-friendly, blockbuster hits either, shown by his work in “The Hunger Games” franchise opposite Jennifer Lawrence and his villainous turn in “Mission Impossible III” with Tom Cruise. 

His spirit endures, and still ripples in our cinematic psyches. We can see it everywhere, notably in his son Cooper Hoffman, who made his acting debut last year with Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” (2021), which was nominated for best picture. 

To celebrate his birthday, Variety is ranking the 15 best film performances of his career.  

Read below, and click on the image to watch “The Scene That Proves It” 

Honorable mentions: “25th Hour” (2002); “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007); “Happiness” (1998); “Mission: Impossible III” (2006); “The Savages” (2007)