We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
Matthew McConaughey, the handsome actor whose early film career was largely characterized by bad performances in good movies. Studios didn’t hire him to act. They hired him to look pretty and bring in female audiences. That tactic worked quite well, but like similarly-treated actors of the past like Burt Reynolds, Patrick Swayze, McConaughey has some merit as an actor.
In the last three years, McConaughey has turned in four critically acclaimed performances (Bernie, Killer Joe, Magic Mike and now Mud) with the surprise box office hit The Lincoln Lawyer boosting his dwindling box office appeal. And while he narrowly missed out on a Best Supporting Actor nomination last year for Magic Mike, I don’t think he’s going to miss the opportunity this year.
Critics are in love with Mud and as the star of that film, there will be no limit to the amount of support he’ll receive for Oscar consideration, but it’s his later-in-the-year performance in The Dallas Buyers Club that will likely net him his Best Actor Oscar nomination. Oscar voters love actors who dig so deep into their roles that they take on physical transformations. Charlize Theron and Christian Bale now have Oscars for doing just that. McConaughey may have some stiff competition this year, but he could eke out a victory, though Best Actor’s a tougher nut to crack for pretty boys (though, Last of the Mohicans heartthrob Daniel Day-Lewis now has three of them). But with his hot streak of acclaimed performances and Mud bolstering his early-year visibility, I think he’s a strong bet for a nomination. It may not be for Mud, but every bit of exposure helps.