Hoffman in supporting for 'Doubt'

After much deliberation, Philip Seymour Hoffman and his representatives have decided to mount a Best Supporting Actor campaign for Doubt, which has emerged as one of the stronger awards contenders of the year. I had heard that’s the way it was leaning, but having now seen the film, I understand why it took so long for this decision to be made. As always, Hoffman is fantastic as a priest accused of molesting an altar boy, more than holding his own opposite a very commanding Meryl Streep. There are moments where the performance does feel like a lead role, particularly his pointed sermons and his centerpiece confrontation scenes with Streep. But then again, perhaps the most memorable sequence in the film is the head-to-head between Streep and Viola Davis, who plays the young boy’s mother. And Hoffman is not part of the movie’s final scene, which may be an argument for a supporting placement.

But let’s get real: This is all about getting nominated…and possibly winning. In the crowded Best Actor race, Hoffman would be fourth fiddle to Frost/Nixon‘s Frank Langella, The Wrestler‘s Mickey Rourke, and Milk‘s Sean Penn. But in supporting, the top contenders so far are The Dark Knight‘s Heath Ledger and…not much else. So if the supporting campaign sticks, not only is Hoffman guaranteed a nomination, but he might also beat Ledger again (as he did in 2006) and win his second Oscar.

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  • Larry

    I like PSH fine and all but his performance in Capote wasn’t better then Ledger’s in Broke Back nor will his performance be better then Ledger’s in the Dark Knight.

  • Jordan

    Amen, Larry. Amen.

  • nathan

    Hoffman’s maybe the best actor we’ve got right now and he’s gonna win a few Oscars before he’s done, but this year belongs to Ledger, and it should.

  • Danielle

    Ledger mumbled his way through Brokeback Mtn. PSH was the better actor that year.
    The Dark Knight was a much better fit and a better acting job by Ledger and even though I haven’t seen Doubt it’ll (Dark Knight) be hard to beat. Acting aside, PSH has already won an Oscar, and it’s hard to beat the deceased (sorry if that sounds insensitive). The acadamy sometimes tries to “spread the wealth” or make up for a past flub no matter who the better actor (or better film) is. Something is gonna have to come out of left field to beat Heath Ledger at this point.
    See: Martin Scosese who could have won for any number of movies better than the one he actually won for. Was Rocky really better than Taxi Driver (or Network for that matter)?
    Paul Newman-won for The Color of Money which was an okay movie, but more and award to say “Sorry, we should have given this to you sooner”
    Al Pacino-Scent of a Woman. Another oops we waited too long oscar. Nobody else stood a chance no matter how great.

  • Ames

    I don’t care where PSH ends up–he’ll lose in either category.

  • Jake

    The performances in Brokeback Mountain and Capote were def leads; not having seen Doubt, I can’t comment. Not sure why Ledger’s joker needs to be a supporting vs a lead: no one “really” was “lead.” I also agree, PSH is likely due many more noms and I suspect sentiment, especially among the actors branch, will be to want to recognize Ledgar, which in this case is certainly not a matter of pure sentiment or nostaligia but actually based on a performance that had clear and visible impact, not just on the film but its critical AND financial reception (something all academy and industry members can get behind).

  • Larry

    To whomever said that Ledger mummbled his way through Brokeback Mountain obviously was looking only to the surface of that film and performance. Heath was brilliant and was robbed!

  • Jasper

    First of all I CAN’T WAIT for Doubt! I hope Viola Davis’s part is large enough for her to get recognized. Although I have a feeling Amy Adams will be who they campaign for as supporting Actress and this might finally be Oscar #3 for Streep. That said, I think Heath probably should’ve won for Brokeback. I love PSH but Capote wasn’t my fave movie or performance. Although if Doubt is as good as it looks I may be torn come Oscar time…

  • Nick

    I dont think the Academy would be able to face the outcry it’ll recieve if anyone other than Ledger wins in BSA.

  • Ed

    Ledger was obviously great in the Dark Knight, but Hoffman hasn’t even been seen in Doubt, or by very few people. So, to those of you who hail Heath Ledger’s Joker as The End All Be All, wait until you actually see a supposed contender before you pass judgment. The outcry for the Oscar, as if Heath is entitled to it, is going to annoy voters so much that he will not even get it…

  • Patrick

    The man “Ed” above me is a very smart man, wait for the actual Oscar movie season to begin before you start calling your shots like Babe Ruth. You might miss.

  • Movie_Dearest

    grumble grumble … I hate this category jockeying.

  • Mary

    To the argument that we haven’t even seen Doubt, so can’t judge both performances, I would actually go so far as to say it doesn’t matter. PSH is a great actor, but Ledger deserves the win not only because he won’t get another chance at it (sentiment vote) but also because his performance truly was transformative, completely engrossing, and outright brilliant — all characteristics PSH can certainly pull off too, but, as others have said, he’ll have other chances, already got the win, and giving it to him, no matter how great his acting is in Doubt (and we all know it will be great) would be a cheat, imo.

  • Larry

    Oscar campaigns are all about buzz, whose going to be nominated and whose going to win when most films haven’t even completed the editing process. If Heath doesn’t win, then I would be fine because that would be a testament to his talent and his always being on the fringe of mainstream success when he wanted to be an actor.

  • ia

    Philip Seymour Hoffman is such a great character actor. He ranks up there with Edward G. Robinson, Peter Lorre and Walter
    Brennan,to name a few. But by far the actor who got into character this year was Heath Ledger as The Joker in “The Dark Knight.” A posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor goes to Heath Ledger!

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