Watch old footage of Lenny Bruce, and the first thing you notice is the stand-up comic's livewire energy – a restlessness and ability to toggle roles in the middle of routines. So naturally Hoffman's take on the groundbreaking comedian in Bob Fosse's biopic fairly bristles with electricity; he rips through Bruce's controversial bits on racial epithets, relationships and other taboo subjects like a man possessed. It's the offstage scenes, however, especially his exchanges with Valerie Perrine's Honey Harlowe, that show the character work he put into this part. The doubt, the self-destructiveness and Bruce's doomed phase as obscenity charges ground him down – Hoffman brings all that as well. The shoot was apparently a wild one that wore the star down, but the result earned him a third Oscar nomination and cemented his reputation as an actor willing to run himself ragged for a role.