Matthew McConaughey has had quite the ride over the course of his Hollywood career. After breaking out as the ultimate bro of all-time in Dazed and Confused as David Wooderson, and then becoming typecast as the lead in romantic comedies, McConaughey has become an A-list dramatic star with an Academy Award for Best Actor on his mantle.
The change from romantic leading man to serious actor was dubbed the “McConaissance” by many critics, and it all started after McConaughey starred in 2009’s Ghosts of Girlfriends past. Frustrated with how his career was going, McConaughey decided to take a step back and told his agent that he wanted no more romantic comedies.
“My agent did a good job saying no, no, no,” McConaughey told The Guardian. “Then the studios got the message and quit sending them. Then there was an impasse of nothing. And there was nothing for about eight months.”
But things started to turn around for McConaughey in 2011. He starred in the legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, the adaptation of the best-selling novel by Michael Connelly, and then worked with two critically-acclaimed directors in Richard Linklater—his old buddy from Dazed and Confused—on on Bernie, and with William Friedkin on Killer Joe.
Those films kicked off the “McConaissance,” and McConaughey continued it by working on the films Mud with Jeff Nichols, Magic Mike with Steven Soderbergh, and The Paperboy with Lee Daniels before everything culminated in Dallas Buyers Club, which won McConaughey his Best Actor Oscar. Since that time, McConaughey has appeared in even more critically-acclaimed films, including The Wolf of Wall Street and Interstellar, keeping the “McConaissance” train moving.
McConaughey has played some incredible characters over the years. Here’s a look at Matthew McConaughey’s best roles.