It's a triumph that almost no one would have predicted a few years ago, but Matthew McConaughey was last night crowned the Best Actor in Hollywood, capping a remarkable career renaissance by winning the Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.
Erstwhile rom-com specialist McConaughey, who has taken to calling his recent career surge a “McConnaissance”, earned acclaim for his performances in Killer Joe (2011), Magic Mike (2012) and Mud (2012), as well as a compelling cameo in this year’s Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street.
But it is the 44-year-old’s turn as real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club that caught the attention of the Academy. McConaughey lost 40 pounds to play the role.
In McConaughey’s portrayal, Woodroof is a homophobe who eventually befriends and bonds with transgender woman Rayon, as they establish a “Buyers Club” together to distribute the drugs. Jared Leto, who played Rayon, was also recognised by the Academy, taking home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
McConaughey was accompanied to the ceremony by his mother and his wife, Camila Alves. In an eloquent and eclectic acceptance speech, the actor thanked God and his family, before exhorting his audience to “Just keep livin’”. Finally, he quoted the first lines he ever said on film, in 1993’s Dazed and Confused: “Alright, Alright, Alright”.
Awards-watchers have speculated that McConaughey’s Oscar campaign was aided by another searing performance that he gave on the small screen, in the eight-part HBO drama True Detective, which will reach its climax on US screens next week. The star will next be seen in cinemas later this year, in director Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming science-fiction blockbuster, Interstellar.
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