This Sunday is a big day for Matthew McConaughey. It is both the 86th Academy Awards, where he poised to win Best Actor for “Dallas Buyers Club,” and the penultimate episode for water cooler fodder “True Detective” on HBO. Both have generated substantial waves on the Internet and beyond.
Few have had the sort of career renaissance experienced by McConaughey. Particularly with his exemplary work as Rust Cohle on “True Detective,” it is clear audiences are witnessing an actor in his prime. But, more than a performer hitting a stride, the plaudits surrounding McConaughey’s recent body of work have reached a fevered pitch. We are, the pundits say, in the midst of a historic McConaissance.
This career about-face fuels the perception that McConaughey has entered a realm untouched by any thespian, ever. Recent chatter places him in the same league as cinema’s titans — Hollywood’s Mount Rushmore — individuals for whom acting was a calling, not merely a profession. So how unprecedented is it? Is it truly, in the words of Marlow Stern at Daily Beast, one of the finest acting streaks ever?
Hyperbole is the calling card for many covering the entertainment industry. Now, to be sure, McConaughey’s recent body of work is impressive. In addition to “Dallas Buyers Club” and “True Detective,” 2013 also featured his tone-setting cameo in “Wolf of Wall Street.” And then there’s his stunning work in “Mud,” “Bernie,” “Magic Mike,” and “Killer Joe.” But how does it rank up to some of the most famous stretches of acting in the history of movies? Let’s take a look.