Philip Seymour Hoffman knows what it takes to turn in an Oscar-winning performance, and critics think he has the Best Actor award in his sights after his performance in The Master.
In the Paul Thomas Anderson movie, Hoffman plays the charismatic leader of a new spiritual movement, one that draws in a fragile World War II veteran played by Joaquin Phoenix. The movie itself and his performance have gotten great reviews, with Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers calling it one of the year’s best and the film scoring an incredible 85 percent “fresh” rating on the critic aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, Reuters noted.
The Master has already won a host of awards. It nearly swept the Venice Film Festival, with Anderson taking home best director and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix splitting the prize for best actor. It was have also taken home best film prize, but was disqualified for already winning too many awards.
In its production stages, The Master generated some attention for what many believed would be a sharp critique of Scientology. Hoffman’s character is supposedly loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, so many critics expected The Master to take on Hollywood stronghold Scientology.
But with its successful trip to the film festival circuit and limited release, The Master has instead been praised as “a captivating and at times confounding film about two disturbed souls and the dark corners of human nature,” The Los Angeles Times noted.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is a large part of that. Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan said the film is full of “vivid moments and unbeatable acting, but its interest is not in tidy narrative satisfactions but rather the excesses and extremes of human behavior.” In the title role of Lancaster Dodd, Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers a “confident, magnetic performance” Turan wrote.
New York Times critic A.O. Scott noted that Hoffman “presents an integrated, highly nuanced, supremely Methodical self to the camera.”
Critics think Philip Seymour Hoffman might not be the only one to win an Oscar from The Master. Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Paul Thomas Anderson have all gotten award buzz as well.