Matthew McConaughey Knows ‘True Detective’ Helped Him Win the Oscar for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

The actor says his HBO limited series was "the best Oscar campaigner" there was for "Dallas Buyers Club."
"True Detective" and "Dallas Buyers Club"
"True Detective" and "Dallas Buyers Club"

Matthew McConaughey’s 2014 Oscar win for Best Actor didn’t come as a huge shock as he had already won the Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild prizes for “Dallas Buyers Club” ahead of the Academy Awards. Plus, the actor’s extreme physical transformation for the role was considered catnip for Oscar voters. Still, McConaughey had to fend off tough competition from Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave.” The secret to McConaughey’s Oscar win? “True Detective,” maybe.

In a new interview with GQ magazine this week to promote his memoir “Greenlights,” McConaughey said the first season run of “True Detective” was probably the most helpful campaign tool during the Oscar race for “Dallas Buyers Club.” McConaughey not only earned some of the best reviews of his career for “True Detective,” but his portrayal of Rustin “Rust” Cohle became perhaps the biggest thing on television in the first half of 2014. Rust Cohle memes dominated social media, while McConaughey’s lines such as “time is a flat circle” etched themselves into the TV history books.

The first season of “True Detective” ran from January 14 to March 9, which was about the entire duration of the 2014 Oscar season. The show premiered just days before McConaughey’s Oscar nomination was announced January 16, which meant the entirety of Oscar voting took place as “True Detective” acclaim and buzz around McConaughey’s performance grew weekly. The double whammy of “True Detective” and “Dallas Buyers Club” was the peak of the “McConaissance,” which the actor told GQ is officially over.

“I’d say that was that,” McConaughey said. “Could there be another run and another name, something lyrical and fun and easy to say — it comes off the lips like that and has a bit of rhyme and reason to it? Maybe. Remember, I was back to back to back to back to back. During the ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ run, I had ‘True Detective’ in your living room every week. To talk about this freely, ‘True Detective’ was the best campaigner for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ there was.”

McConaughey followed his “Dallas Buyers Club” Oscar win with an Emmy nomination for “True Detective.” In recent years, McConaughey films like “The Dark Tower,” “Gold,” and “Serenity” have all nosedived with critics and at the box office. The actor revealed he’s long read all of his reviews, even the bad ones.

“I did an exercise about eight years back. I had my publicists gather up all the bad reviews. And it was a thick notebook. And I went through and I sat down with all of them,” McConaughey said. “What I noticed was there were some people that I could tell from the very first sentence the snark was on high. They didn’t like me. This thing was going to be negative even before they saw the movie. They were in for me.”

McConaughey continued, “But then I also saw criticisms that were very constructive and I was like, ‘This journalist has a point. What I was trying to do did not translate. Let me go back and look at that. You know what? I agree with them. Yeah, I missed that mark.’ Now, I try to find the same things in the good stuff.”

Head over to GQ’s website to read McConaughey’s latest interview in its entirety.

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