10 years ago, Matthew McConaughey said something that would have destroyed any woman's career.

Back in 2014, it was Matthew McConaughey's world and we were just livin' in it. 

This was a huge time for the actor who had an impeccable run of films, including The Wolf of Wall StreetChris Nolan’s Interstellar on the way, and a critically acclaimed performance for Dallas Buyers Club, the latter earning him his first Oscar. 

This era became affectionately known as the McConaissance, a term the actor later revealed in his memoir that he coined himself. 

Because of course, he did. 

But back to the actor's first Oscar, an award won for playing real-life person Ron Woodroof, a man diagnosed with AIDS in a movie about how the US's healthcare system failed gay men and transgender people diagnosed with AIDS. 

So who did he dedicate his win to when accepting his Oscar?

Well, himself. 

In a speech for the history books, after thanking his family and God, McConaughey turned his attention back to himself. 

"To my hero... when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say 'who's your hero?' And I said, 'I don't know, I gotta think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.' I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says 'who's your hero?' I said, 'I thought about it. You know who it is? It's me in 10 years'," McConaughey said. 

Watch the bizarre moment below. Post continues after video.


Video via Academy Awards.

He continued on this tangent that simply would not end. 

"Ten years later, that same person comes to me and says, 'So, are you a hero?' And I was like, 'not even close. No, no, no.' She said, 'Why?' I said, 'Because my hero's me at 35.' So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero's always 10 years away." 

He ended the speech with his trademark expression. "Whoever it is we're chasing, to that I say, 'Amen.' To that I say, 'Alright, alright, alright.'"


Firstly, I don't know who kept asking this man every ten years who his hero was, as if that's a rudimental question to ask someone beyond the age of five years old.

But secondly and much more importantly, was it not worth mentioning the victims of the AIDS epidemic in this speech for an award for a part playing a man suffering from AIDS who ended up dying seven years after his diagnosis? 

Woodroof was just one of over 300,000 gay and bisexual men who died during the period in the '80s and '90s that the Dallas Buyer Club depicted. 


This wasn't even the first time that the actor didn't acknowledge the topic of the film in his speech. After collecting a Golden Globe for the same role, he once again neglected to mention AIDS victims, which was the same story for his co-star Jared Leto. 

Despite this thoughtless oversight and the fact that the actor made an egotistical speech instead of raising any sort of awareness for the people who to this day still suffer with HIV, McConaughey speech went down with no huge outrage. 

It might have been because of McConaughey's eccentric personality.

It could have been his charming Southern drawl.

It was definitely because he's a man. 

Matthew McConaughey accepts the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Image: Getty. 


This simply would never happen if a woman gave a speech like this. 

Imagine if a woman won for a role about a virus that has destroyed the lives of millions of LGBTIQA+ people, historically stigmatised an entire minority, and then made the speech solely about themselves.

A woman would never. Because as women, we have to be one thing above all and that's humble, as America Ferrera's Barbie monologue expertly offered. 

And even when famous women are humble, they're still criticised for their awards speeches and if they're poorly received, their careers rarely fully recover. 

Anne Hathaway is a prime example. One year before McConaughey's baffling speech, Hathaway delivered two heavily panned speeches during her 2013 awards campaign for her role as Fantine in the 2012 film, Les Miserables.

At the Golden Globes, she provoked eye-rolls for saying her award was a "lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt". Then at the Academy Awards, she began her speech with an overly earnest "it came true" whisper before thanking her friends, family, and the Les Miserables cast and crew.  


The internet quickly turned on the Devil Wears Prada actress. Off the back of #HathaHate (an actual hashtag used to troll the actor), she went from being one of the most booked and busy faces in Hollywood to turning away from bigger roles for several years. 

Hathaway has since reflected on the tumultuous time of her life. "Ten years ago, I was given an opportunity to look at the language of hatred from a new perspective," she said at Elle's Women in Hollywood event in 2022.

"This was a language I had employed with myself since I was 7. And when your self-inflicted pain is suddenly somehow amplified back at you at, say, the full volume of the internet... it’s a thing."

A year after McConaughey's Oscars win, Patricia Arquette would give an acceptance speech that the actress claims resulted in her losing jobs.

And what did she say? She called out ingrained sexism in the film industry.

"It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America," Arquette said, as she accepted the Oscar for her role in Boyhood.

Patricia Arquette accepts the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Image: Getty. 


"It’s okay if I don’t work anymore," she reflected in a panel at Tribeca Film Festival in 2016. "It’s a time in my life where I want to do things that make the world a better place for everyone to live in." 

In the list of controversial awards speeches, it's the women who seem to be most chastised. Back in 1985, Sally Field was mocked for saying "You like me, you really like me," in her acceptance speech.

In reality, Field actually said, "I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"

This became the takeaway from the speech, despite the rest of the monologue being warm, graceful and (you guessed it) humble. 


But as far as McConaughy goes, he isn't wondering whether anyone likes him — he knows that people do. 

In the years since winning his first and only Oscar, McConaughey starred in Interstellar, The Dark Tower, The Gentleman, lent his voice to Sing and Sing 2, and headlined the critically acclaimed first season of True Detective opposite Woody Harrelson.  

Most recently, the actor has made the pivot to published author with his 2020 memoir, Greenlights — finding sizeable success. 

Some dismissed the book as self-help babble, reminiscent of his rambling Oscars speech. 

"He obviously wrote it himself and seems certain that in addition to being a memoirist he’s also a certified motivational speaker and, worse, a poet," wrote a review in The Washington Post.

But the numbers told a different story: the book was a major best-seller, moving more than 3 million copies, and debuting at number one on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list.

Despite an Oscars stunt that would have likely decimated any other woman's career, McConaughey dodged any real controversy.

As it stands, McConaughey has been in recent talks to star in a Yellowstone spin-off. 

Alright, alright, alright!

Feature image: Getty. 

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