Some have labeled Matthew McConaughey's recent career winning streak "the McConaughssance."
Current buzz around the 44-year-old actor has escalated to a fever pitch as critics are showering praise on his performance as Texas man struggling with an HIV-AIDS diagnosis in the '80s in "Dallas Buyers Club," in theaters now.
Lest we forget, it wasn't that long ago that McC was best known for his shirtless scenes in poorly-received romantic comedies, including the two in which he starred with Kate Hudson, "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and "Fools Gold." But the actor, who first impressed audiences in 1993 as the skirt-chasing Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused," says he made a conscious choice to turn a career corner.
Infographic designed by Jayme Perry
It started in 2008, when he declined $15 million to star in a big screen "Magnum P.I." reboot, choosing smaller films instead. The next year, McConaughey wrapped up his last romantic comedy to date, "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," which also starred his "Buyer's Club" colleague, Jennifer Garner, who has similarly steered away from rom-coms lately.
His next move was a film that surprised and delighted critics. The 2011 crime thriller "The Lincoln Lawyer" was indeed the first evidence of McConaughey's career renaissance in motion. (Worth noting: McC has played a lawyer at least five times in his career, starting with the 1996 Joel Schumacher crime drama "A Time to Kill.")
A string of praised performances followed in films like "Bernie," "Killer Joe," and "Magic Mike." And yes, thankfully, McC is still taking his shirt off for some of these celebrated flicks.
Further evidence that McC is unstoppable: He's even immune to pans. His role as a passionate reporter in "The Paperboy" was largely cited as the only bright spot in the 2012 Lee Daniels film, starring Nicole Kidman as an overtly sexual woman who strikes up a relationship with a death row inmate.
With the Martin Scorsese film "The Wolf of Wall Street" and Christopher Nolan's "Intersteller" on the horizon for McC, as well as all that awards season buzz directed his way, the McConaughssance is an era poised to endure.
Watch Matthew McConaughey Discuss Why He Relishes Playing Hustlers:
Follow me on Twitter (@meriahonfiah)