We’re just hours away now from the 2014 Oscars and I’m bracing for the possibility that my least favorite actor may very well walk away with the biggest individual award of the night.
Yes, I’m talking about Matthew McConaughey and the Best Actor award. Don’t get me wrong. He was excellent in “Dallas Buyers Club,” which Lori and I finally saw last weekend. In fact, it’s the best role I’ve seen him in, far surpassing the redneck sheriff he played in the dark comedy “Bernie.”
My dislike for him is irrational, I know. Obviously, all you can do is make a snap judgment when you see a celebrity interviewed on a talk show. But he’s always struck as full of himself — even for an actor. And, worse, unaware that he comes across that way — unlike Alec Baldwin or Jack Nicholson, both of whom seem to embrace their smug personas.
I’ve gotta give McConaughey his props, though, along with “Dallas Buyers Club” itself. I walked into that movie totally not knowing what it was about — something I attribute to my lack of interest in McConaughey films. I left triply impressed, not just by ol’ Matthew, but by Jared Leto (a total lock for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the transgendered Rayon) and the story itself.
How did I not know it was about a homophobic rodeo cowboy in 1985 Dallas, who contracts the virus that causes AIDS from a drug-using prostitute and is told he has 30 days to live? How did I not know it was about a real-life dude named Ron Woodruff, who travels to Mexico to smuggle in drugs not approved by the FDA and sets up a buyers’ club to distribute them to others with similar diagnoses? Maybe it was better that way, going in with no expectations and leaving with genuine appreciation for McConaughey as an actor and for the film as a whole.
Truth be told, I’d like to see Chiwetel Ejiofor win tonight for his riveting performance in “12 Years A Slave.” He conveyed so much with just his eyes and face — dignity, pain, hope, humiliation — in making us confront the brutality of slavery in a way that I don’t think has ever been matched on the big screen.
But after seeing McConaughey inhabit the role of Woodruff, I won’t be surprised if he’s called up to the stage to accept the gold statuette. If that happens, I hope he’ll seize the moment to say something worthwhile.