McConaughey started his career as a high school stoner in the 1993 comedy, "Dazed and Confused." Jump ahead 20 years, and he's won the Golden Globe, Critics' Choice and SAG awards, among others, for "Dallas Buyers Club."
The 44-year-old has dozens of movies to his credit. But six years ago, he made the decision to take a step back and re-evaluate his career. He was away from the screen for a couple of years, but in that time, a re-energized actor was born.
"I know more about what makes me tick. I know more about my strengths and weaknesses. More confidence came with that knowledge. I'm more interested specifically in things and characters and stories than I've ever been," said McConaughey. "I was ready to switch gears. I'm really enjoying what I'm doing now. I'm loving these dramas and these thrillers and these anti-heroes, and getting to work with some incredibly specific-minded, singular-minded directors."
McConaughey says he's enjoying working on films that wouldn't be described as "mainstream." This is the actor's first Oscar nomination, and he's enjoying every moment."This is the first time for me to be nominated, to be part of a film and a performance that's been making these awards rounds and people are shining the light on it. Whether it ever happens again, I don't know. Even if it does, it's still my first time, so I'm just enjoying being really present. I'm not going to get tired of talking about my experience with 'Dallas Buyers Club' ever," said McConaughey.
The actor called his Oscar nomination a "great moment" in his career.
"This is a real highlight and a great moment in my career, not a destination," he said.
We'll see McConaughey in another big movie before the end of the year. He's part of the cast of director Christopher Nolan's time-traveling sci-fi film, "Interstellar," which will be out in November.
McConaughey will also be a presenter at the 2014 Oscars, which will take place this Sunday at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles and will air live on ABC7.