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Matthew McConaughey criticized for not mentioning AIDS once in his Oscar speech

Actor won best actor prize for a film all about a homophobic man's fight to survive the disease during epidemic's early days
Matthew_McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Photo: Focus Features

Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar on Sunday (2 March) for playing a man with AIDS in a movie all about AIDS.

But the actor is being criticized today for not once uttering the word AIDS during a lengthy acceptance speech that lasted more than three minutes.

What made the omission all the more glaring was that during an earlier acceptance speech, McConaughey's co-star Jared Leto had spoken of‘the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS and those of you out there who have ever felt injustice for who you are and who you love, tonight I stand here with you and for you.'

McConaughey was also not taking note when supporting actress winner Lupita Nyong'o said in her speech: 'It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.'

Nyong'o played a tortured slave in best picture winner 12 Years a Slave.

So in the end, the reviews for McConaughey's speech were not as good as they were for his acting - particularly a tangent about how his hero is himself - or rather himself in 10 years.

Wrote Salon: The star had just won an award for playing an AIDS patient who fights for a cure and eventually dies, and he mentioned AIDS not once, though he described how his present-day self was the role model for his past self. The people whose real-life lives and deaths McConaughey plumbs for art are less important, here, than McConaughey himself.

Time called it 'confounding' and a 'semi-bizarre tale about his inner life' while while Vogue wrote that 'Magic Matt was as upbeat as a man would have to be when his self-absorption isn’t just actorly but cosmic.'

McConaughey did remember to thank God right at the start and he also paid moving tribute to his late father saying: 'I know he’s up there right now, with a big pot of gumbo…he’s probably in his underwear, and he’s got a cold can of Miller Lite, and he’s dancin."'

While AIDS was never mentioned, McConaughey was sure to wrap things up with his signature line: 'All right all right all right.'

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