Sam Rockwell Holds Back Tears After Paying Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman at Oscars

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Sam Rockwell was thinking of Philip Seymour Hoffman as he accepted his Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

The 49-year-old actor politely thanked the other nominees, the team behind Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, his parents and his “beloved,” Leslie Bibb, before concluding with a sweet shout-out to “my old buddy” Hoffman. Backstage, Rockwell told reporters he was surprised that the tribute made the cut.

“I thought the music was going. Oh good, I’m glad you caught that,” he replied when asked about his salute to the late actor. “I guess you want to start making me cry.”

Hoffman died in February 2014. Though he was just 46, he left behind an incredible acting legacy and influenced many Hollywood actors. 

“He was an old friend of mine and he directed me in a play at the public theater. He was very close to me,” Rockwell shared. “And he was an inspiration to all of my peers, people like Jeffrey Wright, Billy Crudup, [Liev] Schrieber, everybody, Mark Ruffalo… whoever was in my age range, Phil Hoffman was the guy.”

“He was a great director and he believed in doing theater. In fact, he vowed to do a play a year, which I don’t know if he got to do, because he was very busy doing movies. But he was a great inspiration and a great theater director,” he added. “He inspired me and I could go on for an hour about Phil Hoffman. Philip Seymour Hoffman was a good friend and he was a huge, huge inspiration on me.”

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