The Oscar Goes To...

Moody College alumnus Matthew McConaughey wins Oscar for best actor

Matthew McConaughey Banner

Matthew McConaughey (B.S. Radio-Television-Film ’93) won the 2014 Academy Award for best actor in a leading role on March 2 for his portrayal of determined and gritty AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

The native of Uvalde, Texas, and alumnus of the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin was originally discovered in an Austin bar by producer Don Phillips following his graduation from the Department of Radio-Television-Film in 1993. Phillips cast McConaughey in his breakout role in Richard Linklater’s film “Dazed and Confused,” launching a career that now includes more than 50 acting credits.

To prepare for “Dallas Buyers Club,” the actor lost more than 40 pounds to play Woodroof, a real-life Texas electrician who contracted AIDS in 1986 and aggresively sought out alternative treatments for himself and others despite rebukes from the government and medical establishment.

In a category stacked with talent at the 86th Academy Awards, McConaughey beat out Christian Bale (“American Hustle”), Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), and Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”).

McConaughey secures the Oscar after winning the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama on Jan. 12. At the Golden Globes, McConaughey was chosen in favor of other stellar performances from Tom Hanks ("Captain Phillips"), Robert Redford ("All is Lost"), Chiwetel Ejofor ("12 Years a Slave"), and Idris Elba ("Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom").

The award highlights a resurgent career for McConaughey that includes recent critically acclaimed roles in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Mud,” “Magic Mike,” “Killer Joe,” “Bernie,” and “The Lincoln Lawyer.”

Marc Speir
Senior Content Producer