Thursday, April 21, 2011

Which is Better?

Philip Seymour Hoffman
10 sample films:

Boogie Nights
Before the Devil Knows Your Dead
Almost Famous
Synecdoche, New York
Mission Impossible III
Owning Mahowny


Paul Giamatti
10 sample films:

American Splendor
Barney’s Version
Saving Private Ryan
The Illusionist
The Truman Show
Cinderella Man
Private Parts
Planet of the Apes

Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments section


  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman is easily better in my opinion.
    I've never really been very impressed by Giamatti, he is good but not as spectacular as Hoffman.

  2. PSH all the way, I love Giamati in Cinderella Man (a terribly underrated film) but Hoffman is more often than not quite excellent. I sort of love his hammy performance in Cold Mountain.

  3. I think i few years ago this would have been a lot closer, but Giamatti has fallen off recently. Hoffman is more consistent by a mile.

  4. HOFFMAN!!! This guy is so versatile and you get a sense of this just from looking at the list of films he's been in. Even when he plays a minor character he stands out! Other great PHS moments: "Doubt," "The Big Lebowski," "Scent of A Woman," and "Cold Mountain."

  5. Hoffman. Love him.

  6. Wow... that's tough. Again, I love both men. I'd probably say Giamatti because he's funnier. I've seen him in more comedies where he really stands out. I like PSH and I've yet to see him do a bad performance.

    They're both in my list of the best actors of the past decade. Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous and Giamatti as Harvey Pekar in American Splendor. Those are two iconic performances.

  7. Anonymous11:43 pm

    Wow great matchup and really tough to pick one of those two fantastic actors!

    I find Giamatti to be more inherently likable and more of an everyman actor so he is my choice!

  8. Anon was me... Mistakenly clicked Publish before filling my fields ahah

  9. @Jack – Hoffman has had the better films overall but I think Giamatti has been fairly consistent over the years. Giamatti just needs that one big crossover flick (i.e. his own Capote type film) to get more leading man roles.

    @Andrew – Cinderella Man is a lot like A Beautiful Mind more for me. Loved it when I saw it in the theatres but it loses its appeal the more I re-watch it. I think it is just something about Ron Howard films in general that have that result on me.

    @Larry – Giamatti did take a bit of a dip around the Shoot Em’ Up time but, judging by the reviews of Win Win and Barney’s Version, he seems to be getting back on track.

    @Rachel – Hoffman was good in the films you mentioned, though I see Doubt as being a major role instead of a minor one. Regardless, you make a good point.

    @Jess – I had a feeling Hoffman would get the most love.

    @thevoid - Giamatti has definitely had the comedic edge over Hoffman. I thought he absolutely killed it in Private Parts. Both actors would easily make my list of top character actors of this generation. They can handle both the small rolls and the major ones with ease.

    @Castor – I have to agree with you on Giamatti being more of the everyman type of actor. Hoffman is great, but cannot pull off the “average Joe” quiet as well as Giamatti can.

  10. Louise Preston8:53 pm

    PSH. He fascinates me. I can't decide if its the camera being in love with him or superior acting. Probably both.

  11. I love them both, especially after Giamatti's career best turn in BARNEY'S VERSION. But Hoffman is clearly better; fantastic even in minor roles

  12. @Tom - Barney's Version is the only Giamatti film that I still need to see. A family friend worked on the film and was mentioning to me, before it screened at TIFF, about how good the film was.

  13. @Louise - I think it is his superior acting for sure.

  14. Having a very hard time with this one. Paul Hoffman.

    I think I have to go with PSH in the end, for his role in Scent of a Woman if nothing else.

  15. @Fletch - Funny I thought Happiness would be the deal closer for most people. Though it seems to have gone unnoticed in the debate. It has been years since I saw Scent of a Woman, I cannot even remember Hoffman's role in the film.

  16. Bear in mind, I'm 90% joking about Scent of a Woman. He has a pretty small role, but it was where I first noticed him, and he's pretty funny in it (and it's pretty funny to see him so young playing a high schooler).

    I don't think enough people have seen Happiness to make that big of an impact.

  17. @Fletch – Happiness is one of those films that is great but tough to recommend to people. Hey, that could be a theme for a future Lambcast: “Films you love, but cannot recommend to others”

  18. Not a bad idea...I shall throw it in the hopper. And yea...not too many people I would recommend Happiness to, even though it's quite good.

  19. Hoffman all the way. I've yet to review one of his movies, but he's a fairly versatile actor. He makes a big impression, but doesn't have to "act big" to do it.
    Giamatti is good, but a lot of his roles can feel very similar. When he gets "shouty," his roles just blend for me...

  20. @Thaddeus - You make a good point in regards to Hoffman making a big impression but not having to "act big" to do it. I find that too many actors feel that the only way to make a mark is to play the role bigger than they really need to.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.