Matthew McConaughey did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street and the titular character of Mud.
McConaughey is brilliant in this scene as he portrays Mark Hanna as a completely smooth operator who knows pretty much everything of the Wall Street game. McConaughey is great in just being absurdly entertaining with his performance, and has the right flamboyance quite fitting for a man who believes himself to be on top the world. Every little movement of his is a delight, especially his chest beating song, and this is a performance that is simply fun to watch. McConaughey is the master of the scene, and does not a waste moment in this scene just to do something with every word and gesture. Just saying that something is tantamount to fairy dust becomes something rather special for McConaughey, and it is pretty marvelous to behold.
McConaughey does not just do a shtick though as at the same time Hanna is being a genuine mentor to Belfort, and Belfort does model himself after Hanna. There is a major difference with McConaughey's method when compared to DiCaprio's and that is McCounaughey is particularly smooth and above all relaxed even when snorting cocaine. The film goes through with Belfort just diving in head first. McConaughey is excellent because he shows the more seasoned Wall Street broker who has being doing his thing for quite a while. McConaughey makes Mark Hanna a man who knows his trade so well that everything, and I mean everything should be treated with the utmost calm and quite a bit of playfulness.
There is perhaps only one fault to McConaughey's work here, which is creating a fault for the film itself. He is so good in his scene it annoys me a great deal that he never shows up again during the whole course of the film. It would be one thing if Mark Hanna disappeared out of the true story, but in fact Mark Hanna got involved with Belfort's later operations too. It would have been easy to have a couple more lunches, or for Hanna to show up in the office from time to time to offer a bit more sage like advice for Belfort, but alas we have to last with only three scenes of pure McConaughey goodness. McConaughey gets the job done to its fullest though giving an extremely entertaining performance, while making it very believable why Belfort would be so easily sucked into the most negative aspects into the world of Wall Street.
Mud is an effective and moving film about two boys who find a man hiding out on a remote island.
Although McConaughey is the title character he is not the lead. The story is told through the eyes of Tye Sheridan's Ellis one of the boys who come across Mud who seems to be a bit of a mystery. McConaughey is building himself to be a bit of Paul Newman type of actor these days. You don't expect some new accent from him or anything like that, but no one faulted Newman for that either and nor should they. Newman was and now McConaughey is able to reinvent himself not by any gimmick, but rather naturally inhabiting the role. Mud in its very best moments has a bit of timeless quality to it and I could easily have seen this film being made in the late 50's perhaps by Martin Ritt with Paul Newman as Mud, and perhaps Brandon De Wilde as the main boy who finds him.
Anyway Matthew McConaughey plays a very different supporting role in Mud than the one he played in Wolf. Firstly his role in Mud is a large supporting role rather than his brief performance in Wolf. Secondly he played a rich broker in Wolf who wore the best suits, ate the best food, and used the best drugs, but here he plays a man who is technically homeless and looks like he has not had a bath for a long time. McConaughey is just as believable as Mud as he is Mark Hanna. In both performances, just by the way he carries himself and in his slight adjustments on his accent, he suggests where Mud has come from. Where Mark Hanna had clearly a life of entitlement, with Mud you can see his life in the backwoods in everything that he does.
McConaughey was very charismatic in Wolf and here's charismatic again here although in a different way. With Wolf McConaughey conveyed a knowing purposeful charm that fit the lifestyle, with Mud the charm is wholly natural. McConaughey shows that that smile, and warm he brings is just the way that Mud truly is as a man. In the story both of the boys go on to help Mud even with threats of danger with only some fairly small rewards offered from him. The question of what the boys would take so quickly to Mud is never even asked, because McConaughey is absolutely magnetic as Mud and it is very easy to see how the boys would become so invested in Mud's personal plight.
McConaughey does not overplay the charm and early on he nicely builds the mystery of Mud. McConaughey of course makes him seem nice, but he does carry a certain roughness that properly suggests the past about Mud that is eventually revealed. The truth being that Mud has a killed a man, although it was to avenge his lifelong love, who does not really love him in return. McConaughey is terrific in the scene where Mud describes his killing of the man. McConaughey is only completely genuine in the moment and, even though we don't see how the killing took place, we can see in McConaughey's eyes and voice that Mud's action were filled with only the most chivalrous of intentions.
McConaughey gives a rather wonderful performance in this film as brings the unique nature of Mud to life in such a natural and honest fashion. McConaughey's work benefits his film greatly particularly in its eventual ending. Mud has an ending that is a bit divisive, and the very end the film could have easily more ambiguous without the mostly happy ending it actually has. I rather loved the ending and the reason is because McConaughey makes Mud such a likable character. Even with the set up for the ambiguity being already in the film and quite slick at that, McConaughey's heartfelt performance made me just want to see Mud have a good ending as he made me care for his character that much.
McConaughey excels in both of these two performances even though one is a very emotional performance in Mud, and his lighter performance in The Wolf of Wall Street. McConaughey is incredibly capable in both of his performances, and pretty much takes his great actor test (being able to give a great quiet and flamboyant performance), and passes with flying colors. 2013 was indeed the year for Matthew McConaughey with these two performance, as well as his other great performance in his Oscar nominated work in Dallas Buyers Club. If that was not enough he decided to give perhaps his best performance yet at the beginning of this year with True Detective. All I can say is I'm glad McConaughey decided to reveal he had this much talent, and I hope he only continues down this path.