Two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman has not contended at the Academy Awards for two decades but could finally be back in contention this year with his scene-stealing role in Noah Baumbach‘s acclaimed comedy “The Meyerowitz Stories.” He plays Harold Meyerowitz, an irascible sculptor and father who reconnects with his estranged sons Danny (Adam Sandler) and Matthew (Ben Stiller) and daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) ahead of a career retrospective on his work.
Hoffman reaped all seven of his Oscar bids to date in the Best Actor category beginning with his first for his breakout role as the disillusioned Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate” (1967). While Mike Nichols won Best Director for this blockbuster comedy-drama, Rod Steiger triumphant in Best Actor for the Best Picture-winning “In the Heat of the Night.”
Two years later, it was Hoffman gracing the Best Picture Oscar champ, “Midnight Cowboy” (1969). His portrayal of con man Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo earned him his second Best Actor nomination but neither he nor co-star Jon Voight would win on the big night. John Wayne (“True Grit”) topped the duo and fellow silver screen legends Richard Burton (“Anne of the Thousand Days”) and Peter O’Toole (“Goodbye, Mr. Chips”).
In 1974, two years after taking the Best Director Oscar for “Cabaret,” Bob Fosse directed Hoffman to his third Oscar nomination, this time for the title role of notorious comedian Lenny Bruce in “Lenny.” Hoffman and fellow New Hollywood stars Jack Nicholson (“Chinatown”) and Al Pacino (“The Godfather Part II”) would fall short to television icon Art Carney (“Harry and Tonto”) at the ceremony.
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At last, at the decade’s end, Hoffman went home with the golden statue. Hoffman’s portrayal of advertising executive Ted Kramer, whose life is turned upside down after wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) announces she is leaving him and son Billy (Justin Henry), in “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979) scored him the Best Actor trophy. The picture proved the toast of that year’s Oscars, also winning Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Benton), Best Supporting Actress (Streep) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Benton).
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In 1982, Hoffman headlined yet another critical and box office winner, this time as struggling actor Michael Dorsey, who finds fame in reinventing himself as soap opera star Dorothy Michaels, in “Tootsie.” Despite 10 Oscar nominations, the picture came up short on Oscar night, only winning the Best Supporting Actress prize for Jessica Lange. Hoffman lost to Ben Kingsley, star of Best Picture winner “Gandhi.”
Six years later, Hoffman became the fifth actor to date (after Marlon Brando, Gary Cooper, Fredric March and Spencer Tracy) to garner two Best Actor Oscars. The actor scored his second trophy for portraying autistic savant Raymond Babbitt in “Rain Man” (1988). The film’s success went well beyond Hoffman, also taking home the trophies for Best Picture, Best Director (Barry Levinson) and Best Original Screenplay (Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow).
Most recently, Hoffman earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for “Wag the Dog,” in which he portrays a legendary Hollywood producer, recruited to fabricate a war ahead of the presidential election. He fell short to Jack Nicholson (“As Good As It Gets”), who on Oscar night emerged only the second actor to date (after Walter Brennan) to win three trophies.
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