The Trailer for Dallas Buyers Club Hits All the Right Oscar Notes

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 27 2013 6:37 PM

Matthew McConaughey Might Win That Oscar

dallas buyers club
Matthew McConaughey in the trailer forDallas Buyers Club


When an actor loses a lot of weight, or plays a historical figure, or takes on a character with a terrible disease, the dreaded term “Oscar bait” is sure to rear its head. With the Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey hit the trifecta: He stars as Ron Woodroof, a Texas man who died from an AIDS-related illness in 1992. Before his death, he started something called the Dallas Buyers Club, a distribution service that imported unregulated AIDS treatments from abroad.

The trailer begins with Ron living it up with women, booze, and bull riding, only to simmer down quickly once he’s diagnosed with HIV. After being denied treatment with the new AZT drug by his doctor (Jennifer Garner), he turns to the black market and comes head to head with the disapproving Food and Drug Administration. (In reality, though the FDA did warn AIDS patients about one of Woodroof’s drugs in particular, they seem to have largely taken a “look the other way” approach with Woodroof and his club.)

Advertisement

The overall mood and style of the trailer is as Oscar-bait-y as you’d expect, with a rousing rock score that evokes the late ’80s and clips of McConaughey shouting rallying cries at his opposition (“People are dying,” he pleads at one point). And the actor isn’t the only one who has gone through a drastic physical transformation: A barely recognizable Jared Leto plays a transsexual woman named Rayon, who helps Ron with his business.

The trailer suggests that Ron will undergo an inner journey as dramatic as the actor’s weight loss, from homophobia towards acceptance. Maybe McConaughey will finally win that Oscar he should have gotten last year.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 21 2014 11:27 AM There Is Now a Real-life Hoverboard You Can Preorder for $10,000
  Life
Quora
Oct. 21 2014 11:37 AM What Was It Like to Work at the Original Napster?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.