The Matthew McConaughey McConaissance

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Meriah Doty
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UPDATE Jan. 16, 2014: Matthew McConaughey won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama and has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Some have labeled Matthew McConaughey’s recent career winning streak “the McConaissance.”

And he keeps on winning. The 44-year-old actor was nominated for his first Academy Award on Thursday for his role as a Texas man struggling with HIV-AIDS in “Dallas Buyers Club.“ Add to this his first Golden Globe Award win for the same role and his small-but-memorable part as a greedy Wall Street mentor in "The Wolf of Wall Street,” and McConaughey couldn’t get any hotter.

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.

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 one of the only bright spots 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 McConaissance is an era poised to endure.

Infographic designed by Jayme Perry, concept by Meriah Doty (CLICK FOR FULL SIZE)

Watch Matthew McConaughey Discuss Why He Relishes Playing Hustlers:

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