I wanted to thank everyone who commented online or contacted me directly regarding my obituary for Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was obviously well respected and will be missed.
Today I have to make a correction on my Oscar predictions.
Originally, I predicted that Chiwetel Ejiofor would win for his commanding performance in 12 Years A Slave. It’s an important film and an important role but this past weekend I watched The Dallas Buyers Club and I apologize for overlooking Mathew McConaughey.
He should win and really, it’s not even close.
I have to tip my hat to his body of work, and his skills as an actor.
I have enjoyed him in several films. A Time To Kill was the first where he really was able to shed off the goofiness of Dazed and Confused. Yep, that was him.
I enjoyed EdTV maybe more than most but it established him as very, very watchable. He can carry a movie. He’s on a roll right now. Mud was great, his character on True Detectives is dark, crazed and incredibly watchable and now this.
In Dallas Buyers Club he plays Ron Woodruff, a smooth-talking electrician rodeo cowboy hustler who receives an HIV positive diagnosis and is given 30 days to live. Not sure how they make that diagnosis, but Ron isn’t willing to just lie down and die and then he finds out there are medications in Mexico that might prolong his life.
He finds out that there are any number of people that are in the same position. Always the entrepreneur, he partners up with a same diagnosis transsexual named Rayon and they start the Dallas Buyers Club, a syndicate where other HIV patients pay a monthly fee to receive treatments.
It’s funny and sad and loaded with empathetic characters and Jared Leto who is always interesting brings a very cool balance as Rayon.
There is obvious pathos here. We aren’t really expecting a happy ending are we?
So the journey is the payoff.
McConaughey lost 40-50 pounds for this role.
He looks haggard and sick and he really owns this film.
I think the charm is he makes you like him. Not despite his flaws but because of them.
Who knows what it would take for us to stare down a 30-days-to-live-diagnosis but he sees money and opportunity and that alone is inspiring. Think about it.
He’s dead man walking and he starts a kind of Consumers Distributing for the sick and tossed aside.
It’s a great story and a great performance and if he doesn’t win I’m not going to write another Academy Awards column until next year.
There are notable supporting performances. Jennifer Garner is strong as Dr. Eve Saks and one of my favorite supporting actors, Steve Zahn, is Tucker.
There’s a lot to like here and I really did like this film a lot, and his performance even more so. Credit to the director Jean-Marc Vallee who gets out of his stars’ way and lets the actors tell the story. Ego usually gets in the way of that but Vallee knows he’s got a winner here and he lets that pony run.
A great view – even on DVD. Dallas Buyers Club is currently out of theatrical release. It’s well worth the time and the dime.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m out of here. Paul.
The Oscars are presented Sunday, March 2. Click here for your printable ballot
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