Matthew McConaughey attends the European premiere of ‘Interstellar’ at Odeon Leicester Square on October 29, 2014 in London, England.
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Matthew McConaughey accepts the American Cinematheque Award with Vida Alves McConaughey onstage at the 28th American Cinematheque Award honoring Matthew McConaughey at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 21, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
The American Cinematheque kept the McConaissance rolling Tuesday night, giving Matthew McConaughey its 28th American Cinematheque Award in an evening that celebrated the 44-year-old actor’s career, his eccentricities and the loyalty and love he shows to his family and friends.
“Matthew’s motto is ‘just keep livin’,’ and to that I say, ‘We’re trying, but it’s hard to find the time when we’re giving you an award every two weeks,'” host and friend Jimmy Kimmel joked during an evening that felt like a victory lap some seven months after McConaughey won the lead actor Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
A parade of McConaughey’s costars, past (Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon) and present (Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway from next month’s sci-fi epic “Interstellar”) introduced loosely themed clip packages of the 22 years he has spent acting. There were also videotaped well-wishers, including director Richard Linklater, who gave McConaughey his first signature role in “Dazed and Confused,” and Sandra Bullock, who recited a poem she wrote that boasted many memorable stanzas, including: “Thank you for your friendship, your loyalty and your trust / And thank you for reminding me it’s OK to have a smaller bust.”
McConaughey, seated with his wife, Camila Alves, two of their three children and his mother, Mary, seemed to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the benefit gala for the nonprofit Cinematheque, frequently raising a bottle of beer (his table was well-stocked) to a presenter.
You know what we love about Matthew McConaughey? We keep getting older, and he just stays the same age (at least in spirit) even as he glides with Woodersonian ease into act three of a career that somehow feels like it’s just getting started.
Brothers and sisters, behold the fruits of the McConaissance. The man himself is sitting in the back of a black chauffeured Mercedes-Benz, gliding effortlessly down the 405, relaxed, legs akimbo, wearing boots, gray jeans, a white V-neck, and sunglasses. On one knee is balanced a bottle of kombucha, the flavor of which, when combined with the packet of chewing tobacco tucked into his lower lip, can only be guessed at. On the other, there’s a brown leather journal with a turquoise clasp—a place to record stray thoughts, doodles, visual diagrams of future roles, and whatever else pops into his head.
“A man should always have his diary on him,” Matthew McConaughey says, grinning, borrowing from Oscar Wilde. “That way he’s guaranteed to always have something incredible to read.”
The car is bearing McConaughey from Los Angeles to San Diego, where he will make a surprise appearance at Comic-Con on behalf of Interstellar, the dimension-bending Christopher Nolan epic he stars in this month. Afterward he and his family will board a private plane for Massachusetts, where he will shoot Gus Van Sant’s latest, The Sea of Trees. Both are the kind of role McConaughey wouldn’t have sniffed only a few years ago. The story of this transformation is repeated so often it’s taken on the quality of an American parable: Preternaturally talented young man gets lost in a maze of easy, interchangeable romantic comedies before suddenly seeing the light and getting serious. An Oscar, Emmy nominations, a whole new status follow. Lo, he is risen.
The first sign that perhaps the story isn’t quite so simple may have come in McConaughey’s Oscar speech for Dallas Buyers Club, in every way the kind of Very Serious Movie designed to breed smug and sentimental showboating. Instead, it was old-school McConaughey—part flirt, part hippie preacher, all brash and cheerful self-regard. So much for killing the past. We even got an “All right, all right, all right.”
In person, it’s easy to feel that McConaughey contains if not multitudes, then at least enough facets to defy easy categorization. He’s a joyful talker with a gift for conversation that is much like his gift for acting: a talent for being extraordinarily present and engaged, no matter how banal or repetitive the circumstances. Credit that for the fact that, at any given moment, at least one of those supposedly disposable romantic comedies is airing somewhere in the cable universe. And for the fact that he’s more than game to kick the tires of the Parable of McConaughey to see what’s true, what’s false, and what lies in between.
After he plumbed the direst depths of Gotham City in his “Dark Knight” trilogy and traversed multiple levels of consciousness in “Inception,” it seems the only place the filmmaker Christopher Nolan could go next was outer space. In his latest feature, “Interstellar,” an intrepid shuttle team slips the surly bonds of earth to search for wormholes, black holes and planets beyond our galaxy; at the same time, the film is closely concerned with the pale blue dot the crew came from, which is rapidly becoming inhospitable to human life.
The starry cast features the newly minted Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “True Detective”) as Cooper, a farmer and pilot tasked with ensuring humanity’s future; Anne Hathaway (an Oscar winner for “Les Misérables” and a co-star of Mr. Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises”) as Brand, a fellow explorer; and Jessica Chastain (an Oscar nominee for “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Help”) as Murph, Cooper’s earthbound astrophysicist daughter. Audiences can see exactly how these celestial bodies align when Paramount Pictures opens “Interstellar” (which cost a reported $160 million) in Imax and other film formats on Nov. 5, and in wider release on Nov. 7.