7 Acting Revivals, Starting With Matthew McConaughey

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The saying goes that Hollywood loves a good comeback story, and there’s no greater comeback in recent memory than the ongoing renaissance of Matthew McConaughey. Once considered the quintessential romantic lead — someone forever lampooned as the actor sure to take his shirt off in a film — McConaughey is now the owner of an Academy Award for Best Actor and is expected to be one of the frontrunners at the Emmys for Best Actor for his turn in HBO’s True Detective. But there wouldn’t be a platitude in Hollywood about comebacks if McConaughey was the only one. In fact, Hollywood comebacks have dominated the entertainment industry, going as far back as Hollywood itself. Here are seven recent Hollywood comebacks.

Source: Lionsgate

1. Matthew McConaughey

Fresh off his win Sunday night at the Oscars for Best Actor in Dallas Buyers Club, the turnaround of McConaughey’s acting career — now dubbed “The McConaissance” by the media and fans — has reached its high point and is showing no signs of slowing down. That’s because McConaughey, who is currently earning rave reviews for his portrayal of Detective Rust Cohle on HBO’s True Detective, could become one of the few actors in entertainment history to earn an Oscar and an Emmy for a major role in the same year.

So how did this all start? How did an actor who languished in romantic comedies and generic action films become the most talked about and critically acclaimed actor of 2014? It starts in 2011, when McConaughey took the lead role in the critically acclaimed thriller The Lincoln Lawyer and followed it up with strong turns in Killer Joe and Bernie. While those three films weren’t seen by many movieoers, industry insiders were paying close attention. 2012 became his true breakout year, with The Paperboy, Mud, and Magic Mike — the last of which sees McConaughey almost lampooning the roles he had been known for before his turnaround.

But if 2011 and 2012 were proof that McConaughey still had the chops to do complex and difficult roles, it was 2013 that truly catapulted him back to stardom and critical acclaim. Although only a minor character in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, McConaughey still managed to leave his mark in an early scene, in which he bestows his wisdom upon a young Jordan Belfort played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and got everyone talking about his hilarious improvisation based around a breathing technique he uses to prepare for a scene. Dallas Buyers Club, as we’ve already mentioned, needs no introduction, and McConaughey is currently playing the most talked-about character on the most-talked-about TV series at the moment on True Detective.

Up next for McConaughey? A starring role in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi epic Interstellar and a rumored role in Magic Mike 2. But really, no one would be surprised if McConaughey decided to take it easy in 2014 after three years of stunning, nonstop work.

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