Back in 2005 I called him "the American Alec Guinness," but that was imperceptive. He was almost always conspicuous in character roles. I can remember watching Scent of a Woman in 1992 and wondering who is playing the other high school kid. Hoffman tended to cause elbow-nudging among audiences: Hey, look, it's what his name. This is going to be good! (Guinness was conspicuous too, of course, as is his heir Gary Oldman -- nobody goes into acting to be inconspicuous -- but Guinness wasn't conspicuously conspicuous.)
Lately, you could see a few problems. Before starting an article, I make up a page of random notes where I just jot down observations without attempting to fit them together. From my notes for my review of the recent Hunger Games sequel:
Philip Seymour Hoffman looked like he was needing the Big H to get through his dialogue.
Fat actor life expectancy: