Friday, 31 January 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2013: Matthew McConaughey in The Wolf of Wall Street and Mud

Matthew McConaughey did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street and the titular character of Mud.

The Wolf of Wall Street is basically owned by Leonardo DiCaprio in pretty much every scene except the few scenes that don't feature him and the scenes featuring the best supporting performance in the film by Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey is only in three scenes total during the film and his first and third scenes are rather brief. Those scenes don't matter as the first is just Hanna introducing himself to DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort, and the third is Hanna looking in disbelief, like everyone else, when the market fails big time. This performance is all about his long scene where he speaks to Belfort over lunch, and mentors him on the ways of a proper stock broker. This scene is what makes him the best supporting performance in the film, and a true one scene wonder.

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.
Now at the beginning of 2013 McConaughey had another performance in Mud.

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.

54 comments:

Matt Mustin said...

He's brilliant in both these roles.

Michael McCarthy said...

I love that that chest banging song was actually his pre-shoot ritual.....

And again REALLY hope he ends up winning for Dallas Buyers Club!!!

RatedRStar said...

2013 was indeed his year, maybe he is the next Paul Newman, which would be great.

Speaking of Paul Newman, after seeing him on Whats My Line, his relationship with Joanne Woodward is so, well great, the fact that they loved each other from beginning to end is just wonderful and very warm. It felt like the end of an era when Newman passed away.

Another person that really changed my opinion on him, was Robert Ryan, knowing that he was dieing on set, he gave it his all in his final performance.


Matt Mustin said...

I haven't seen Dallas Buyers Club, though I will the SECOND I get my hands on the DVD. It's killing me that I have no way to watch True Detective.

Kevin said...

What ratings will you give to Witherspoon and the rest of the cast?

Louis Morgan said...

Tye Sheridan - 4.5
Witherspoon - 3
Jacob Lofland - 3.5
Sam Shepard - 3.5
Ray McKinnon - 3
Sarah Paulson - 3.5
Michael Shannon - 2.5(really did not get to do anything)

Kevin said...

Louis, have you watched Shotgun Stories? I think Michael Shannon 's performance can possibly be reviewed for your alternate line-up

Matt Mustin said...

I feel like Michael Shannon was only in Mud as a favour to the director.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what are you thoughts on 28 Days Later?

mrripley said...

I preferred mackinnon in mud.

luke higham said...

Louis: what were your ratings & thoughts on the rest of the cast in The Wolf of Wall Street.

luke higham said...

Louis: also what are your thoughts on the casting choices in the upcoming Batman vs Superman film.

Anonymous said...

I might win.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Matthew McConaughey's winning streak is something I would have balked at back in 2008. Now, it seems like he can do no wrong.

Louis Morgan said...

Kevin: Haven't seen it but I want to, at least to be a Jeff Nichols completest.

Matt: 28 Days is mostly effective aided well by the strong performances of Murphy and Gleeson. I do feel it kinda loses its way once the military men show up.

Luke:

Kyle Chandler - 4 (Seems like he perhaps suffered a bit from the cutting of the film, but does very well for himself particularly with yacht scene. I love the moment when he calls Jordan on his attempt to bribe him.)
Rob Reiner - 3.5 (Enjoyable bit of work that nicely combines a weak willed disapproval with a father's love)
Jon Bernthal - 3.5 (Had the right presence, like one of the Goodfellas, to suggest his character was a bit out of the rest of the guys league)
Jean Dujardin - 4 (Uses his charm brilliantly, but with the right touch of slime and snake under the surface. My favorite of his has to be when Saurel takes over the narration for a moment)
Margot Robbie - 3 (good but very much overshadowed by DiCaprio)
Joanna Lumley - 3.5 (Short but nicely handled performance, her scene where she and DiCaprio are mixing signals is great)

In regards to Batman and Superman, Jeremy Irons is a great choice for Alfred, Eisenberg is an interesting choice Lex Luthor as at least it seems it will promise something that won't try to ape Hackman, which is a good thing. I do think he needs to bulk up a bit to have a more commanding physical presence though.

Psifonian said...

My only problem with "Wolf" is that Mark Hanna said that he worked at Stratton-Oakmont for two years, which means that Scorsese and Winter denied us more McConaughey.

Psifonian said...

But yeah, McConaughey on rewatch of "Wolf" is dangerously close to taking my runner-up spot in Supporting Actor. That is the true definition of a one-scene wonder.

RatedRStar said...

RIP Maximilian Schell =( he was a great actor who had charisma and charm in almost anything he did.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what ratings would you give Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Iron Man 3?

Louis Morgan said...

3, 3.5 and 4.

Matt Mustin said...

That's pretty close to me actually. The only change I would make is I would give him 4 for The Avengers as well as Iron Man 3.

Matt Mustin said...

Also, in regards to Iron Man 3, what did you think of Ben Kingsley?

Louis Morgan said...

I thought he brought the menace for the first half of his performance (although perhaps too well as he made Guy Pearce feel like a complete let down), and he was entertaining with his second half.

Matt Mustin said...

Yeah, Guy Pearce was really dissapointing.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Ironically, Pearce had my favorite line in the movie. The one about what a ham "Trevor" was.

Michael McCarthy said...

I know this is strangely off-topic Louis but I was wondering, why did you rank Takashi Shimura so low for his performance in Scandal? I thought it was one of his better performances.

Louis Morgan said...

I still liked him, but I thought he played his role a little emotionally intense from the beginning. It really did not let his character properly grow like his perfect work in Ikiru.

My biggest gripe with Scandal was I think it would have been better off as lighter film. In fact I would have preferred if Mifune's character had been defended by a slick opportunist played by Tatsuya Nakadai (although of course he had not started his film career yet) rather than the broken down opportunist in the film.

Michael McCarthy said...

Hmm. I guess if I had a problem with Shimura's work it was that in his first scene I didn't see the underlying pain behind the flamboyant lawyer, but afterwards I saw it in bucket loads. Also, for some reason when I watched it and thought about how he was playing it I thought, "I would love to see John Cazale play this role."

RatedRStar said...

oh my fucking god

Phillip Seymour Hoffman has passed away =(.

Kevin said...

What the FUCK?!?! I can't believe he's passed away...

Kevin said...

RIP Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Michael McCarthy said...

I can't believe this...I won't believe this a week from now.

JackiBoyz said...

No way did I expect this, I thought Hoffman would be here 20 years from now, picking up oscar nomination after nomination and continuing to prove his greatness as an actor.

RatedRStar said...

He was such a sweet kind hearted humble man, I wonder if he was sad deep down or hurt in someway, he was only 46 =(.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Two Best Actor winners in 48 hours. Damn.

Lezlie said...

R.I.P. :( :(

luke higham said...

R.I.P. Phillip, a great actor who didn't deserve to go so soon, your performances in The Master & Capote will be long remembered.

R.I.P. Maximilian, who lived a good life & had what should be a well remembered career.

Maciej said...

First Schell, now Hoffman... Damn.

Louis Morgan said...

R.I.P Maximilian Schell and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

So very sad, I thought for sure Hoffman was going to be the one to break the supporting actor nominations record.

luke higham said...

Louis: What rating would you give Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if Hoffman was a depressed man or anything? something that would have possibly turned him to drugs.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: He was at the Sundance film festival, a couple of weeks ago & he looked quite worn out.

Michael McCarthy said...

He had been a drug addict when he was young but kicked it until recently. Early last year he announced that he had checked himself into rehab for snorting heroin.

RatedRStar said...

I know I love Claude Rains to bits (fuck Arthur Kennedy the useless twat) but if there was one person who deserved to break that Best Supporting Actor record it was Hoffman without question.

Matt Mustin said...

Off topic, but are you a fan of David Cronenberg Louis, and if so, what's your favourite film from him?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: I would give Kingsley a 3.5, although a re-watch could bring him up to a 4.

Matt: I'm not a huge fan, although I definitely like him as you can usually expect something special from at least his direction.

Right now my favorite of his would be A History of Violence, although I still have several of his films I need to watch, and I need to re-watch The Fly as I have not seen it in a very long time.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Guys, I need your help. I need to prove I know people who thought Jake Gyllenhaal was co-lead in Prisoners. Here's my Facebbok account:

https://www.facebook.com/robert.macfarlane.35

It's a public message, so you don't have to friend me if you don't want.

Matt Mustin said...

koook: Gyllenhaal is so lead, it's not even funny.

Matt Mustin said...

Just a question, did anyone see Baz Lurhman's Great Gatsby? And if so, is there ANYTHING good about it?

luke higham said...

Matt Mustin: Dicaprio was very good & I very much liked the soundtrack to it as well. Maguire was boring as usual though.

RatedRStar said...

Am I the only person who likes it when an actors final oscar nominated /winning performance, is a really good one that is worthy of being his/her last.

Like for example, Hoffman in The Master was excellent and a worthy final nomination but its a shame that Maximillians performance in Julia is just not given anything to do, I kinda wish Maximillians final nomination was The Man In The Glass Booth, which would have been a worthy final performance, does anybody feel the same way like.

Matt Mustin said...

If Hoffman is as great as people are saying in A Most Wanted Man, we might get a posthumous nomination. Probably not, but maybe.

RatedRStar said...

I think everybody would be happy if he did, and he deserves it most certainly, another thing is that it is based on a John Le Carre book, and they tend to be liked by the oscars, think Tinker Tailor, Constant Gardner, and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.

ClarenceRockyHorror said...

LOUIS (and anyone else if they'd like) Could you name your top 10 favourite performances in Star Wars (including prequels if you like, but I'd doubt it :) though I've always had a soft spot for Ewan McGregor's portrayal of Obi Wan), ratings included? Thanks