Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Best Actor 2005: Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar from his first Oscar nomination for portraying Truman Capote in Capote.
Capote is an interesting film that takes a fascinating look into Capote life and his involvement with two killers to write his book In Cold Blood.

Capote was certainly a strange figure, from his voice to his demeanor. The simple mannerisms of someone like Capote are incredibly difficult for an actor to portray without seeming forced. With Capote one could really go over the top and be completely unbelievable but Hoffman is practically perfect as Capote. He handles his voice very well, even though it could be debilitating since Capote's voice was odd, but Hoffman handles it no only so it sounds natural but also that it does not distract from the rest of his performance either. Hoffman equally excels with his mannerisms. All of Capote's very distinct mannerisms are very well handled, the fact that he takes the extra effort to do these aid his performance greatly, since for me I never questioned that he was Truman Capote despite the fact that Hoffman does not really look like Capote.

This is a brilliant performance depicting someone because the impersonation is brilliant and as is the emotional strength of the performance. He is fascinating as Capote from beginning to end, what helps this so much is that he never plays Capote in a single way even in a single scene. He shows that Capote is an odd man but that is only a feature of his incredibly complex personality. One is extremely feature about Capote is that he always wishes to be the center of the attention, no matter what the situation. Hoffman brilliant infuses Capote's strange energy into all the scene whether it is when he is the life of one of the parties he goes to, or just eating with two people he does not know that well. He is always performing no matter what the situation is and Hoffman is perfect at showing as something Capote simply just must do. He always wants to be even to a child like extent shown so well when Harper Lee (Catharine Keener) makes fun of him a little briefly. His childish reaction is perfect.

Hoffman is especially strong in showing Capote past despite the fact the film has no scenes that show Capote's past but everything in his past is told always by Capote himself. Every scene where Capote tells about his past Hoffman shows so much in these scene far beyond what he says. Hoffman always suggests even more with his face and his eyes adding even more to Capote in every single scene. We never get a flash back of him but we can understand some of this mysterious man due to Hoffman's brilliance. I like how he shows that Capote is both a man who does care about the killer Perry Smith, but will also manipulate him just to make sure he gets his novel just as he wants it. In these scenes he shows a another side to Capote no longer trying to entertain but to rather control. He is chilling in these scene where he shows his cold attitude to get what he wants such as when he leaves Perry early because he will not tell him about the night where Perry and the other killer murdered a family.

Hoffman is simply fascinating in every scene showing such an array of emotions rarely ever shown. He is especially strong in the final scenes of the film where he finally must face the consequences of his actions. His final scene with the killers, where Capote grief is fully shown, is made truly heartbreaking due to Hoffman performance. He shows so much showing his sadness of the soon to be death of friend and of his knowledge he could have possibly prevented his death, but that he did not to be able to give his novel the ending he wanted it to have. He shows that he perhaps wanted above all approval and love for his work, shown magnificently in his reaction to the applause where he reads from his book on stage. He desperately wants to be considered as great, and this is shown splendidly by Hoffman. Hoffman's performance simply is stunning, he shows so much to the man of Capote with his voice, his body, his face and his eyes. He never is false and shows a truly powerful portrait of a man, one that is rarely ever seen on film.


Anonymous said...

I agree...I love the scenes near the end with him and Catharine Keener...

joe burns said...

He'll be an easy pick. What did you think of Keener?

Malcolm said...

It's a perfect performance, like you just have said. Keener was great too.
Do you think Keener is good?

Could you do Ledger next?

Louis Morgan said...

Sage: That scene is great.

Joe: I thought Keener was quite good this time around, although originally I thought she was a little underwhelming. I found she improved with repeated viewings.

Malcolm: Yes I can do him next.

Brandon said...

Have seen bits of the performance, but I really need to see the whole to really judge.

Did anyone else think he was really great in "Boogie Nights"?

Louis Morgan said...

I think he was good but he needed more scenes about him.