Gold Standard

American Cinematheque keeps the McConaissance rolling

'It all seems like just the other day': Matthew McConaughey on winning the American Cinematheque Award

The American Cinematheque kept the McConaissance rolling Tuesday night, giving Matthew McConaughey its 28th American Cinematheque Award in an evening that celebrated the 44-year-old actor's career, his eccentricities and the loyalty and love he shows to his family and friends.

"Matthew's motto is 'just keep livin',' and to that I say, 'We're trying, but it's hard to find the time when we're giving you an award every two weeks,'" host and friend Jimmy Kimmel joked during an evening that felt like a victory lap some seven months after McConaughey won the lead actor Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club."

A parade of McConaughey's costars, past (Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon) and present (Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway from next month's sci-fi epic "Interstellar") introduced loosely themed clip packages of the 22 years he has spent acting. There were also videotaped well-wishers, including director Richard Linklater, who gave McConaughey his first signature role in "Dazed and Confused," and Sandra Bullock, who recited a poem she wrote that boasted many memorable stanzas, including: "Thank you for your friendship, your loyalty and your trust / And thank you for reminding me it's OK to have a smaller bust."

McConaughey, seated with his wife, Camila Alves, two of their three children and his mother, Mary, seemed to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the benefit gala for the nonprofit Cinematheque, frequently raising a bottle of beer (his table was well-stocked) to a presenter.

"I'm relaxed," McConaughey told The Times before Kimmel kicked the night off. "The work's all done. Oh yeah. It's right here," he said, pointing either to his jacket pocket or his heart.

"The thing is," he added, "is that it adds up to a couple of decades, but it all seems like it was just the other day. Every single bit of it."

The night included the requisite shout-outs to shirtlessness and naked bongo playing. (Actually, there were several stories involving nudity, including Hudson relating a night in the Canadian Rockies when she found McConaughey howling at the moon from atop a boulder.) There was Jennifer Garner, telling the audience that McConaughey invested as much care and effort in their 2009 romantic-comedy "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" as he did in their most recent collaboration, "Dallas Buyers Club."

And there was McConaughey's "True Detective" costar and friend, Woody Harrleson, sending along a beautifully bizarre video message that had him staring down a bullfrog and confessing, "I've been thinking about you, brother. And not in a gay way. Well ... maybe a little."

The evening culminated with "Interstellar" writer-director Christopher Nolan presenting the award to McConaughey, saying that he had "never worked with an actor so relentless in the pursuit of truth in everything he does."

"I'm not a believer in the McConaissance," Nolan added. "I think Matthew's success of late is the rest of us catching up with what he was doing."

Twitter: @glennwhipp

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