Sure, the 86th Academy Awards featured some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were there. Meryl Streep was there. Leonardo DiCaprio was there. But if I’m being honest, part of me saw this “get together” as less of a show and more of a reunion. More specifically, A Time to Kill reunion.
In the crowd sat several cast members of the 1996 film, which included Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey, Samuel L. Jackson, and of course, first-time Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey. And the second I saw this photo of Jackson and McConaughey, I couldn’t help but think back to the film that, for me at least, first indicated that this McConaughey guy was something special.
In the film, Jackson played Carl Lee, whose daughter had been raped by two white men. When it appeared the men were going to get away with their crime, Carl Lee killed them. It was then Jake’s (McConaughey) job, as Carl Lee’s lawyer, to convince a jury in the South that his black client shouldn’t go to jail. And he did it with an unforgettable closing argument. In that one speech, McConaughey’s performance pulled me in and made me realize the power with which he could command a scene.
Watch McConaughey light the match that started his (long) road to the Oscars below: