Dear Academy, Don’t Make the Same Mistake as the Golden Globes

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 13 2012 12:19 PM

Give a Golden Boy to This Golden Boy

Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike
There's never been a better time to get Matthew McConaughey his Oscar.

Photo by Claudette Barius © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The omission of Matthew McConaughey from the Golden Globe nominations for best supporting actor this morning raises the horrifying possibility that McConaughey will not be nominated next month for an Oscar. This outrage cannot stand. Matthew McConaughey, hero of Hollywood, will never have a better chance at the nomination that would cap his spectacular career. That’s because this year he gave the performance against which all future Matthew McConaughey performances will be measured—the iconic McConaughey, the ur-McConaughey role.

What makes a performance iconic? Think of Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. That role offers all that we think of as Jimmy Stewartness, boiled down to its purest state. Plain-spoken. Decent. Ever-so-slightly aggrieved. That’s what makes Mr. Smith the iconic Stewart role, just as Holly Golightly (plucky, elusive, chic) was Audrey Hepburn’s iconic role, and Indiana Jones (handsome, wisecracking, exasperated) was Harrison Ford’s.

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And Dallas, the strip-club owner gone to seed in this summer’s hit Magic Mike, is the iconic Matthew McConaughey role. It features all that we’ve ever loved about McConaughey—his goofiness, his nonchalance, his sexy strut, his absurd self-regard—in the maximum concentration allowed by law. Magic Mike is the Hobbit of McConaugheyness, so dense in McConaughey-per-second that the human eye must retrain itself to take in such grandeur. Months later, it’s easy to forget both Mike (Channing Tatum) and Whatshisface (Alex Pettyfer), and think of Magic Mike solely as the film made specifically to give fans of Hollywood’s greatest-ever nude bongo-player all they’ve ever wanted.

So this is your chance, Academy. Reward Matthew McConaughey now, or be forced 30 years from now to give him an embarrassing honorary Oscar like you did Alfred Hitchcock. Don’t blow it! Matthew McConaughey for best supporting actor!

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

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