After watching him lazily step back for the sake of easy jokes, Kate Hudson and his own torse, it is easy to forget that Matthew McConaughey was once a legitimate, up-and-coming real actor (think A Time to Kill, Amistad, Lone Star, Contact). I had all but written him off, but this year (and next), Matthew McConaughey is back with a vengeance, and chasing legitimacy (and maybe an Oscar).
Last year's Lincoln Lawyer was his calling card back to the world of actual actors, but this year he is impossible to miss, taking a leaf out of Jessica Chastain's 2011 playbook - whether by his turn as sweaty, kinky southern reporter in Lee Daniels' apparently misjudged pulp noir thriller The Paperboy; as spray tanned, veteran stripper and club owner Dallas in Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike, as twisted contract killer / cop in William Friedkin's grim small-town thriller Killer Joe, or, on the friendlier side, as Mississippi fugitive telling tall tales to teenagers trying to reunite him with his true love in the awesome Jeff Nichols' Huckleberry Fin-ish Mud, you will notice Matthew McConaughey this year.
And he's not stopping there. Next year, he moves from the American South to the 80s, showing up in Scorsese's period Wall Street drama, The Wolf of Wall Street, opposite Leo DiCaprio, and taking center stage in the true story of an AIDS-suffering electrician smuggling illegal drugs from Mexico to save his life and the lives of thousands of others in The Dallas Buyer's Club. AIDS, weight-loss, real life heroism and medical care issues could be just what he needs to land him on the Oscar podium. Only time will tell, but the man's been working hard for a change and deserves the credit he gets.