It can’t really be called a comeback because Matthew McConaughey has never really gone anywhere, but after some years of seemingly phoning in his roles, his name has been mentioned along with that of another – Oscar.
McConaughey has been an actor now for over 20 years. His first role was as the infamous Guy #2 in My Boyfriend’s Back. The next movie was the one many people remember him for – Dazed and Confused. While the part may have made him famous, it didn’t really earn a lot of respect for his acting abilities.
But, he did show promise when he starred in 1996’s A Time to Kill. That performance won him the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance. While some scoff at the MTV Awards, it also won him the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor.
It seems as if he wasn’t sure who he was as an actor and tried to change his acting persona, going for grittier roles in Lone Star, Armistad, The Newton Boys, and U-571.
Then, McConaughey’s career took another turn. For while, he became the male version of Jennifer Aniston, nice to look at, but starring in fluffy, forgettable rom-com duds as The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. All movies that paid the bills and kept McConaughey in the public eye, but made one wonder, just who is Matthew McConaughey as an actor and is he fading into that realm of actors who just seem to be acting for money?
I myself have always been a McConaughey fan, but if you had asked me three years ago if he was really a good actor, I might have wobbled on my answer. Yes, sometimes he can be good. Other times, I wondered if he was just playing himself on screen or if he really even cared about the parts he was taking.
Then, I saw him in Magic Mike. Some called it the return of McConaughey, but again, he had never really gone anywhere. You wouldn’t think playing Dallas, the owner of a male strip club, would be the performance to breathe life back into McConaughey’s career, but it was just that. McConaughey won a Best Supporting Actor award from Independent Spirit, the National Society of Film Critics, and the New York Film Critics as well as being named the Central Ohio Film Critics Association’s Actor of the Year. Some people felt McConaughey genuinely deserved an Oscar nomination for his role, but that wasn’t to be.
However, McConaughey didn’t have to wait long for his first Academy Award nomination to come. A native Texan, McConaughey has found gold in the name Dallas. This past year, he starred in The Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodruff, a homophobic alcoholic who contacts AIDS, has a change of heart, and becomes a champion for those seeking hard-to-get experimental drugs during the early years of the disease. It was both an irritating, inspiring, and heartbreaking tale, one for which McConaughey lost 48 pounds to accurately portray a man dying of AIDS.
Last week, I had a dream that Matthew McConaughey was standing on the stage, accepting his Oscar for this role and I believe in two more weeks, this dream will come true for McConaughey.