In recent years, it was easy to forget that before he was a rom-com staple in films like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and The Wedding Planner, Matthew McConaughey broke into the industry in a little independent film, with his scene stealing performance as the slimy David Wooderson in Richard Linklater’s 1993 cult classic, Dazed and Confused. But this year, McConaughey returned to those indie roots. The hunky Texas native proved that he was more than just hot arm candy next to the Jennifers and Kates out there by choosing smaller films with accredited directors who stretched him as an actor. And the work paid off. He gave hilarious and nuanced performances in films like Bernie and this summer’s sexy success Magic Mike that gave him the acting cred we always knew he deserved. It doesn’t hurt either that McConaughey married his longtime girlfriend Brazilian bombshell Camila Alves at his Austin home. It all helped us see past those blindingly beautiful abs of his.
Dominating Moment: It’s safe to say that this was his performance in the surprisingly dark Magic Mike. He stole the show as Xquisite strip club owner Dallas, who had us at his gyrations in those leather chaps. We love how the notoriously shirtless actor winked at the audience with this bare-chested role and even nodded to his 1999 arrest as he played the bongos during the Tarzan striptease scene. By showing us that he’s in on the joke, the actor exuded self-effacing charm, even while betraying Channing Tatum’s Mike.
Dominating on Twitter: McConaughey isn’t necessarily known for his Twitter presence, but his 282,259 followers would probably say otherwise. The actor utilizes the site to promote his catchphrase-powered philanthropic endeavor the Just Keep Livin Foundation, promote his movies and show his Longhorn pride.
Best Appearances: McConaughey did his fair share of press promoting a record number of films this year in addition to Magic Mike (Killer Joe, The Paperboy, and Bernie to name a few) from The Daily Show to The Tonight Show. In June, he and Camila graced the cover of People, sharing photos of their laid back Austin wedding weekend. But we have to say, his scooter cooler race against Jimmy Fallon was pretty epic and is now our new favorite backyard barbecue activity. It just goes to show you can take the man out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the man.
What We Expect From Him in 2013: McConaughey already has several projects lined up for him that will continue to push him into a serious A-list actor territory. His role in Dallas Buyers Club already has people talking about his extreme weight-loss to play a man with HIV in the ’80s. We hope this is JUST for the movie and he’ll go back to his healthy six-pack ways! He’ll also be costarring with Leonard DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street and is teaming up with friend Woody Harrelson for TV series True Detectives. We’ve loved seeing more of you, Mr. McConaughey, and can’t wait to see you continue to surprise us.
[Photos: Warner Bros., LD Entertainment, Splash News Online]