Matt's Blog


Interview - All Is Lost For Director JC Chandor

J.C. Chandor

His first feature, Margin Call, made by top 10 list in 2012 and so I was very excited to be talking to J.C. Chandor about his new film, All Is Lost. You can download a short audio extract from the interview by clicking here.

Matt: To quickly go back, Margin Call was released in early 2012 here in Australia and it was my 3rd favourite film of the year.  It premiered back at Sundance back in January 2011 and it propelled you all the way to an Oscar nomination.  When did you realise that the film was taking off?

J.C.:  That was quite an experience.  It was my first ever feature film and it was an amazingly slow build.  We took the film to the Sundance Film Festival not knowing what it was.  We were well received there but we certainly weren’t the darlings of the Festival that year.  Over the next 12 months, the film built up momentum until the point where I got an amazing treat with an Oscar nomination for writing.  I’ve been at it a long time and it’s been 10-15 years of struggle so 2011 was a pretty special year.

Matt:  So we’ve gone from Margin Call – which has some of the best dialogue you could imagine – to All Is Lost – which has none at all.  How long has the idea for this film been with you?

J.C.:  In a weird way, some of the set pieces and the big moments in the film have been bouncing around in my head for years but there really wasn’t a movie there.  It was during the editing process of Margin Call that I was taking a train back and forth between New York City where I was working and up the coast where I was living.

During the winter months, I was looking out all these boats that get stowed away up on land and it was kind of a sad, depressing thought of a boat just sitting there on stilts.  I wrote this letter that begins the film and it was that letter that really got things going.  So I was kind of writing the film as I was editing Margin Call.  I didn’t know it at the time but this idea was growing that was very different.

Matt:  In curious to know what a script looks like on a film with no dialogue?

J.C.:  It’s a funny thing as it’s still quite detailed.  It was a 31 page document, so it’s a little shorter than your average script, but it was very, very specific.  It was written scene-by-scene and shot-by-shot so that when you were done reading it, you literally felt like you had watched the movie.  That was the only document we ever used to attract Mr Redford, to attract financing, to attract distribution and to attract a crew that would go out and make it. 

Matt:  What sort of reactions did you get when showing it to studios and trying to get some interest in financing the film?

J.C.:  They were not as shocked as you might think.  I know that sounds weird to say but when you finish reading the document, it really did explain how he was going to speak, what was going to be happening, what the emotional arcs were going to be, what each scene was about, what the end goal was.

We attached Mr Redford first and that certainly helped frame it.  We ended up putting the financing together in a very conservative way.  Universal Pictures and Lionsgate, who financed the movie, are conservative groups and so I think they liked the budget range we were trying to do it on and they also liked the idea. 

Matt:  Robert Redford is a much loved actor but we’ve seen him in so few movies of late.  How did you go about approaching him for the film?

J.C.:  It goes back to that first trip to Sundance.  I had a completed version of the script and I knew I always wanted the role to be for an older actor.  I thought there was something fascinating about the character having lived a pretty full and successful life but still having a drive to survive.

Mr Redford gives this welcoming talk at the Festival each year and there’s a breakfast that he invites people to on the first morning where we welcomes the filmmakers.  I was sitting in the back of the room and I didn’t realise it at the time but the speaker over my head had been unplugged so I couldn’t hear Robert Redford who was standing at the front of the room.  Someone then plugged the speaker in and suddenly I heard a voice that we all know so well.

It was at that time that I started to think of him for the movie – taking his voice away and seeing what you’re left with and what kind of performance that would be.  A month later I sent him the script and a week after that I was sitting in a room with Robert Redford and he said “yes” probably 5 minutes into our meeting.  He never lost faith in the project from that point forward despite the fact it took a year to get the financing together and work how we were going to shoot it.  This was also before Margin Call had come out so there was something in this project that he really loved

Matt:  He’s a fit guy but Robert Redford is still 77 years of age and this is a very physical role.  We see him on the ship making repairs and treading through water.  How easy was it for him?

J.C:  It was a long, gruelling undertaking.  Shooting on the water is a very slow and methodical and infuriating enterprise.  Everything on film takes 3 times as long as it should and then when you add water into the mix, it can be quite maddening.

We used that to our strength as we shot the film in order and it really is about this character who was going through this insane endurance over 8 days.  The shoot was over 2 and a half months and the total preparation time was 6 months so it was a really long project. 

Matt:  And how do you shoot a film like this where you’re either in the tiny confines of the boat or looking out into the ocean?  Is this done in a studio?  In a dock?  On the open water?

J.C.:  A combination of all three.  A lot of the large storm sequences, where we’re flipping the boat upside down and putting it through its paces, we did in a more controlled environment in a huge tank that was built right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Mexico where they shot Life Of Pi and Titanic. 

We also shot in the Pacific off both Mexico and Los Angeles and then also in the Caribbean and the Bahamas which are in the Atlantic.  It all came together like a jigsaw puzzle and hopefully when you’re watching the film, it all feels like one thing. 

Matt:  I couldn’t help but notice in the credits that there’s a director of photography and an underwater director of photography.  Is there a speciality that’s important when shooting under water?

J.C.:  Yeah, it’s a very complicated endeavour.  You’re using a large motion picture camera with all the different focal lengths and lighting conditions.  When you see the film, there are very intense and very extreme underwater sequences and so he was a key component in shooting the film.

Matt:  It’s a technique that’s often used in films where we begin with part of the ending.  We hear Robert Redford talking about the desperate situation that he’s in and the length of time he’s been out there.  What’s behind that?  Giving the audience a glimpse of what’s ahead?

J.C.:  It’s a letter that he’s reading and often with any survival film there’s a moment of “reckoning” that is done through a letter.  You hear this letter but yet the character seems to have some communication issues.  It’s not as specific as one might be in a letter like that.  In a way, that letter is what started the project for me and it always felt right to start the film with it.  Then you get to learn how this guy ended up in that predicament.

Matt:  Like what you did with Margin Call, this film has been doing the film festival circuit before getting a wider release.  It premiered at Cannes before moving onto a bunch of other festivals.  It screened here in Brisbane at the Brisbane International Film Festival.  How would you describe the value that comes from film festival screenings?

J.C.:  It’s very simple.  These films don’t have the marketing and distribution budgets that a huge blockbuster film would and so what you’re trying to do is build some momentum and some critical acclaim.  You can then use that to help get the word out.  Of course on the flip side, it doesn’t work if the film is not well received and it can backfire very quickly.

Matt:  You’re two for two in my book with Margin Call and now All Is Lost.  Can you share what you’ll be working on next?

J.C.:  We’re shooting a film in February/March which is a film that I wrote called A Most Violent Year.  It’s set in New York City in 1981.  It’s a different film but it’s something that I’m very excited about.

Matt's Super Mega Awesome 2014 Oscars Form Guide

Ok.  It’s time for my annual super mega awesome Oscars form guide!

It’s an interesting race in 2014 with one of the tightest categories being best picture.  I think we’re going to see a few surprises on the night.  Just a hunch.

My 14th Annual Oscars Contest!

As I have done for the last 13 years, I am conducting my annual "pick the Oscars" competition. I have selected 6 of the more wide-open categories (it's such a tricky year) and everyone is invited to pick who they think will be the winner.

In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined using my traditional tie-breaker question. You just have to guess the age of the person who presents the award for best picture. If two or more people present, an average age will be used.

The first and only prize is a $100 Amazon voucher. Hopefully you'll be able to use it wisely and buy some great DVDs.

The awards are held at 11am on Monday, March 3 (Brisbane time) and entries close at this time. You can only enter once so think it over and choose carefully.

The entry form is online and you can check it out by clicking here.

Oscar Betting

As I also do each year, I like to put a small/large wager on the Academy Awards.  I’m not normally a big gambler but this is the one time of the year where I have fun and try to hope my predicting skills are better than others.  I steer away from favourites and tend to look for a bit of value.

I had a small win on the Golden Globes (finished up $328) but I already lost $200 on the Oscars by backing Robert Redford early in the race (who wasn’t even nominated).  Here’s a look at my current bets and I’m happy with the odds achieved…

Best Picture – Gravity - $500 at $7.65 to return $3,825 (current odds on Sportsbet are $5.00)
Best Actor – Matthew McConaughey - $200 at $3.50 to return $700 (current odds on Sportsbet are $1.17)
Best Picture – Jennifer Lawrence - $200 at $3.00 to return $600 (current odds on Sportsbet are $2.20)

Gravity is the deal breaker for me.  It’d be my largest ever collect on the Oscars if successful and my fingers are crossed.  I still think it’s a coin flip between it and 12 Years A Slave (evidenced by the tie at the Producer’s Guild).

Super Mega Awesome Oscars Form Guide

On that note, let’s get to the form guide.  Here’s a look at all the categories with my thoughts on who will take home the coveted statues.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf Of Wall Street

This is a very interesting race.  When you look at all lead up awards, you won’t find a stronger correlation that the Directors’ Guild Award.  Since 1950, only 7 directors have won the Guild and not won the Oscar for directing.  In 3 of those cases, the director wasn’t nominated at the Oscars (making it impossible for Academy members to vote for said person).  So the bottom line is that in 95% of cases, he who wins the Directors’ Guild, wins the directing Oscar.  That makes Gravity’s Alfonso Cuarón a short favourite (and for good reason).  To take that a step further…. Since 1957, only 9 films have won best director and not won best picture Oscar since 1957.  That’s an 84% strike rate.  This leads me to conclude that Gravity will win best picture.  That said, we know this has been a close year.  The Producer’s Guild award was a tie (between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave) for the first time in history.  While there isn’t usually a split between director and picture, a surprisingly large number of lead up awards (including the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs) have fallen that way.  I’m saying it’s a coin flip right between the two leading contenders and while American Hustle isn’t completely without hope, I think Gravity will edge out 12 Years A Slave by the narrowest of margins.   Matt’s Pick: Gravity.

Best Achievement in Directing
American Hustle (David O. Russell)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
12 Years A Slave (Steve McQueen)
The Wolf Of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

For those who think 12 Years A Slave is going to win best picture, you might want to consider Steve McQueen in this category given the correlation I mentioned above.  Hard to see Cuarón getting beat though.  He’s won pretty much everything else in the lead up.  Matt’s Pick: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón).

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

This is a trickier race that people might think.  The Golden Globes were split between Leonardo DiCaprio (comedy) and Matthew McConaughey (drama).  McConaughey then took the honours at the important Screen Actors Guild Awards where Leo wasn’t nominated (largely because the nominations were announced before most had seen The Wolf Of Wall Street).  The reverse applied at the BAFTAs where McConaughey missed a nomination (no one had seen his film either) and most tipped Leo to win… but it was Chiwetel Ejiofor who took the win in an upset.  McConaughey is a short priced favourite here but I think he’s vulnerable.  With Jared Leto also looking like a winner in the best supporting actor category, this might be the spot where voters reward The Wolf Of Wall Street (as opposed to another win for Dallas Buyers Club).  It’ll be close but Hollywood does like a comeback story and so I’ll stick with McConaughey at this stage.  Matt’s Pick: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club).

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

On my national ABC Digital show last December, I said that if Cate Blanchett doesn’t win this category, I’ll walk to Sydney.  I am still just as confident.  If Cate gets on stage and proclaims that she didn’t expect to win, she’ll be lying.   Matt’s Pick: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine).

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf Of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

While I think Barkhad Abdi and Michael Fassbender had much “meatier” roles, most of the key lead up awards have been falling the way of Jared Leto and he’s hard to tip against at this point.  Matt’s Pick: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)

It’s hard to work out who has the momentum at this point in time.  Lawrence won the Golden Globe, Nyong’o rebounded with the Critics’ Choice Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award.  Lawrence then countered by winning the BAFTA.  It’s looking like another coin flip category.  The Academy clearly loves Jennifer Lawrence but will they really give her two awards in two years (she won in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook)?  Or will then honour a largely unknown actress instead?  Matt’s Pick: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave).

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club

All five films are best picture nominees but this would appear to be a race between American Hustle and Her.  I think both films are overrated but I’d still like to see Spike Jonze pick up his first Oscar (he was nominated previously for directing Being John Malkovich) so I’ll take his side.  Matt’s Pick: Her.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf Of Wall Street

Another category were upsets are possible but given it’s the favourite to take the best picture prize, I’ll go with 12 Years A Slave.  Matt’s Pick: 12 Years A Slave.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises

Frozen is currently $1.05 on Betfair and those odds look to be good value.  A Walt Disney Studios production has never won in this category (the honours have been dominated by Pixar and Dreamworks) but that will change.  Frozen can’t lose.  Matt’s Pick: Frozen.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

Here’s another category with a history of upsets.  The Great Beauty has been popular in early lead up awards but I’m a huge fan of The Hunt and I’m hoping Denmark will pick up its 2nd win in the last 4 years.  Matt’s Pick: The Hunt (Denmark).

Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Grandmaster
Inside Llewyn Davis

Most would acknowledge at Gravity is a special effects driven film… but it looks so beautiful and realistic.  Who deserves the credit?  The visual effects guys?  Or the cinematographer?  Recent winners in this category have been in films heavy on special effects (Life Of Pi, Inception, Avatar) so I see Gravity continuing that trend.  Matt’s Pick: Gravity.

Best Achievement in Film Editing
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years A Slave

A lot of people subscribe to the theory that the film that wins best editing is the film with the best chance of taking best picture.  It doesn’t always hold true though.  Some think Captain Phillips has a chance to surprise here (it won the Guild Award) but given it was overlooked for best director and best actor, I don’t think it’ll have enough support to stop Gravity.  Matt’s Pick: Gravity.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years A Slave

The Great Gatsby made a substantial amount of money around the Globe and this might the one chance where the Academy can recognise its popularity.  They tend to go for flashy, extravagant period piece films in this category and The Great Gatsby ticks a lot of boxes in that regard.  Matt’s Pick: The Great Gatsby.

Best Achievement in Production Design
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
12 Years A Slave

This one isn’t as easy as costume design.  The Great Gatsby is the early favourite but the likes of Gravity and 12 Years A Slave could surprise here.  I’m going to stick with Gatsby though.  Matt’s Pick: The Great Gatsby.

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

I’m still laughing at the fact that a Jackass movie has been nominated for an Academy Awards ahead of films like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, American Hustle and The Great Gatsby (which all made the shortlist).  As the only best picture nominee in the bunch, this is one award Dallas Buyers Club should have in the bag.  Matt’s Pick: Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The Book Thief
Saving Mr Banks

One of my favourite categories is best music and I think all five of these nominees are terrific.  I’ve listened to them often.  I’d like to see Thomas Newman finally manage a win for Saving Mr Banks (he’s been nominated 11 times previously without success) but it’s the film’s only nomination and appears unlikely.  I’m also a fan of Alexandre Desplat and his beautiful Philomena score.  Perhaps this is his chance after 5 nominations previously?  That said, given the lack of sound in Gravity and the prominence of the music, I have to lean with Steven Price.  Matt’s Pick: Gravity.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

“Happy” from Despicable Me 2
“Let It Go” from Frozen
“The Moon Song” from Her
“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

There are a lot of U2 supporters out there but given so many people saw and loved Frozen, I think it’s home and hosed here.  Matt’s Pick: “Let It Go” from Frozen.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

The sound categories tend to go hand-in-hand and as you can see, 4 of the 5 nominees for best sound mixing also pop up for best sound editing.  Gravity is a staggering technical achievement and I think that’ll swing voters in its favour.  Matt’s Pick: Gravity.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Lone Survivor

See commentary above.  Matt’s Pick: Gravity

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

Of all the categories, this is the one that is least in doubt.  Gravity is $1.02 on Betfair and if loses here, they should launch an inquiry.   Matt’s Pick: Gravity.

Best Documentary, Feature
The Act Of Killing
Cutie And The Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet From Stardom

I’ve only seen one of this year’s documentary nominees (20 Feet From Stardom) and it’s in the mix along with The Act Of Killing and The Square.  Matt’s Pick: The Act Of Killing.

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Cave Digger
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days Of Private Jack Hall

We’re now getting down to some of the more random categories.  Very few members of the Academy and the public will have taken the time to seek out these films and watch them.  Matt’s Pick: The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life.

Best Short Film, Animated
Get A Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Room On The Broom

Get A Horse! appeared before screenings of Frozen which gives it a distinct advantage over the other, lesser known animated shorts.  Matt’s Pick: Get A Horse!

Best Short Film, Live Action
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have To Take Care Of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

I’m going with Helium because it has the shortest title.
Matt’s Pick: Helium.

The Oscars will be held on Monday, 3 March 2014 at 11am Brisbane time.  Don’t forget to enter my contest!

The Great Gatsby Dominates AACTAs... That's Bad

I didn’t get a chance to comment last week given the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman but the Australian Academy Awards were recently held and the results generated some discussion on Twitter.

I am a fan of awards shows and I think they serve a purpose in promoting films and promoting the industry.  I’m also a member of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) and so I do my best to see all of the nominated films and then lodge my vote accordingly.

2013 wasn’t a huge year for Australian cinema but there were a few films that made an impression.  The Rocket won the Audience Award at the Sydney, Melbourne and Tribeca Film Festival.  The Turning was a collection of short stories told over three hours (plus an interval) and was rewarded for its boldness by making more than $1 million at the local box-office.  Mystery Road was shot in Winton and earned Indigenous star Aaron Pederson a nomination at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Despite the merit of these films, it was The Great Gatsby that dominated the Australian Academy Awards.  It was nominated in 13 categories and won 12 of them.  If that’s not convincing enough, it also won a special award for best visual effects (where there weren’t any other nominees).  In the other categories, The Rocket and The Turning picked up one win each.  That’s it.

The problem with this result is obvious.  If the purpose of the awards is to celebrate Australian cinema, what’s the point of giving the same film every award?  I don’t blame the people behind The Great Gatsby (it’s a decent film).  My qualms are with the AACTA voters who scrolled down the ballot paper and ticked The Great Gatsby in every category.  It made more a boring telecast.  It was like watching an AFL grand final where one team wins by 150 points.  It’s fun if you support that team but for everyone else, there’s no excitement.

It’s also worth noting that of any Australian film released last year, it’s The Great Gatsby that needs the least publicity.  It had a production budget of $100 million, an equally huge marketing budget and in the end, pulled in more than $350 million at the international box-office.  I’d have preferred to see the likes of The Rocket and Mystery Road receive a little more recognition so as to prompt audiences to hunt down these great films.

An intriguing slate of Australian films will be released in 2014 and I can only hope that next year’s awards offer up more variety.  I’ll be doing my best with my own vote!

Gone Too Soon: The Best Of Philip Seymour Hoffman

When you look back on the career of an actor, you can generally identify a period that would be referred to as their “prime”.  That’s not the case when it comes to Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Since I first heard his name in the mid-90s, he’s been delivering great performances in a long list of acclaimed films.  There were a few misses (no one’s perfect) but I can’t think of any actor over the past two decades who has put together a more impressive resume.

In 2004, I started an annual blog on my website where I named my top 10 actors working today.  A lot of names have slipped on and off that list… but Hoffman has always been ranked number 1 or number 2 (nudged out by George Clooney).  I know I’m not alone with my admiration.  He received 4 Academy Award nominations (winning for Capote) as well as 3 Tony Award wins.  He was a gifted actor who could seemingly take on any role – good guy or bad guy.

I was stunned to get a text message from a fellow film-going friend at 5:37am this morning that simply read – “Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead. Massive loss.”   We’ll be able to see him in a few more completed films (A Most Wanted Man, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) but it’s still hard to believe that the career of Hoffman has come to such a sudden, tragic end.

I could list more than 20 films but in this week’s blog, I thought I’d pay tribute by listing my favourite 10 Philip Seymour Hoffman movies (with a few quotes thrown in).  May he rest in peace.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Capote (2005)

The film follows writer Truman Capote (Hoffman) as he becomes friends with a criminal on death row and then transforms the story into “the non-fiction book of the decade”.  This is one of cinema’s great character studies.  It was my favourite release of 2006 and earned Hoffman an Academy Award for best actor.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Doubt (2008)

Working alongside the equally brilliant Meryl Streep, Hoffman plays a priest who by an influential nun of molesting a young boy.  The dialogue was incredible and the film created as much “doubt” in my mind as the characters on screen.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Master (2012)

Hoffman worked with many directors… but never as often as he did with the brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson.  This was their last collaboration and it saw Hoffman take on the role of a cult leader who tried to control an aimless solider (played by Joaquin Phoenix).

Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith and directed by the late Anthony Minghella, Hoffman played Freddie Miles – a party-loving guy living in Italy who becomes a thorn in the side of the film’s sinister protagonist, Tom Ripley (Matt Damon).

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

In a “truth is stranger than fiction” kind of story, Hoffman plays a rogue CIA agent who helps a U.S. Congressman (Tom Hanks) to get weapons for Afghan soldiers during their 1980s war with the Soviet Union.  With some cracking good one-liners, the role earned Hoffman another Academy Award nomination.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Boogie Nights (1997)

In one of Hoffman’s earlier roles, Hoffman played a young boom operator who developed an infatuating with the well-hung porn star, Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg).  There are so many awkward exchanges between the pair!

Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Ides Of March (2011)

I’m a sucker for a great political thriller and in this slick George Clooney directed effort, Hoffman starred as crafty campaign manager trying to get his candidate the Democratic presidential nomination.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Magnolia (1999)

In one of the greatest films of all time (at least in my opinion), Hoffman plays a nurse who is trying to reunite a dying man (Jason Robards) with the son he hasn’t seen in many years (Tom Cruise).

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Owning Mahowny (2003)

Hoffman was more widely known for his supporting work but in this low budget drama (released two years prior to Capote), he proved himself more than worthy in a leading role.  Based on a true story, his character was a bank manager who embezzled millions of dollars to fuel his growing gambling addiction.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Happiness (1998)

In an R-rated black comedy from director Todd Solondz, Hoffman played a pervert who jerks off while making creepy phone calls to a woman he has a crush on.  As you do.