McConaughey Walked Green Carpet , Now Wins Best Actor

Updated 4 years ago Story and Photos by Tony Rutherford

 McConaughey Walked Green Carpet , Now Wins Best Actor
The suspense is over. Matthew McConaughey has been named BEST ACTOR. Thanks God, My Family, My Hero --- I keep on chasing and looking forward and up to the hero........

Excitement, glamor and fashion comes to Hollywood's Red Carpet as stars arrive for Oscar night. For a flashback, HNN takes you to the Green Carpet in front of the Keith Albee on Dec. 12, 2006 when stars and filmmakers of "We Are Marshall" arrived for the showing. HNN spoke with tonight's Best Actor nominee Matthew McConaughey about portraying a "real life" character i.e. Jack Lengyel. His "carry on and persist" through adversity has significance to his portrayal of HIV sufferer Ron Woodroof in "Dallas Buyers Club" for which he has received a Best Actor nominee.

Huntington, WV (HNN) -- Depending upon the estimates, 10,000 people came to Downtown Huntington Tuesday night, Dec. 12, 2006 to either watch the premiere of “We Are Marshall,” catch a glimpse of the stars, dance and party with Marshall patrons, and celebrate the completion of the project.

Hurdle after hurdle fell into place opening previously shut doors for the production of a feature film based on the Marshall air disaster and the team’s eventual triumph over adversity. Yet, in some way, like in Kate Mara’s narration of the film, “time stood still” in the community. The University became an economic pillar, but after the tragedy the City of Huntington remained in a tough place. As the factories shut down even the dream of a “superblock” mall downtown went east to Barboursville.

 McConaughey Walked Green Carpet , Now Wins Best Actor

A two-square block of land symbolized the unfulfilled potential of the city. As this urban renewal “ground zero” failed to become a mall, aquarium , off track betting facility or even an outlet mall, the land languished with streets that cut between the foundations of concrete --- the remains of structures removed by urban renewal that were not rebuilt.
As the city’s population declined, the Marshall University campus spread eastward and south, but even it had projects that languished for lack of resources for a decade.
The 1990s brought something new to the city --- a winning football team. After decades of losses in their quest to reestablish itself following the plane crash and the recruiting violation scandal that occurred beforehand, the MU football team started winning. Not just a few games, but they were playing for championship of the conference, for the I-AA national championship, the MAC championship, and began receiving bowl game invitations.

 McConaughey Walked Green Carpet , Now Wins Best Actor

With the team’s “playing for championships,” the time stoppage started moving forward. But, the town and gown memory of what a nearby neighbor called a massive gasoline explosion as a plane hit the hillside gloomily persisted.
In fact, Keith Spears, vice president of communications, has admitted that in many ways the school often dreaded regular inquires to do a film about the worst air crash in college sports history.
Those hoping to watch the stars coming down the green carpet started forming a significant line for the bleachers hours before the “official” opening time. Most wore Marshall green although a few women dressed in gowns.
“We Are Marshall” director, McG complimented 25-year-old first time screenwriter Jamie Linden acknowledging, “It took a young heart to capture the essence of the story as well as listen to the senior elements of the community” who lived through the crash.
 McConaughey Walked Green Carpet , Now Wins Best Actor

The director’s first choice for 1971 MU coach Jack Lengyel came from looking for an actor with a big heart. Little did heartthrob Matthew McConaughey know that taking time out of his schedule to help those in need after Katrina would lead to a part that evokes People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man of the year’s” best performance in a drama.
Commenting on portraying a real life character, McConaughey explained, “You have very emotional parts in fictional stories [but when portraying a real life character] you know that what you are portraying on that day is more than a mirror.” The actor who has starred in such films as “Failure to Launch” and “Dazed and Confused” explained that his role as Lengyel need to be “the best emulation of the tragedy that happened to real people,” which in his words mandates both a tremendous responsibility and “real privilege” as the “story was much bigger than any of us individually.”
Asked whether he felt the pressure of playing a real person pushed him from an actor to a role model, McConaughey thoughtfully responded: “I don’t know about a role model, but when you do a film that has a message like this… I think it’s fair to say that a good thing… a good reminder to tell people to carry on and persist.”
 McConaughey Walked Green Carpet , Now Wins Best Actor
Photo by Chris Spencer

He challenged families and communities facing adversity to “figure it out, don’t forget your back, stick with it and you will see a light. I think that is a good thing and there’s not many things [today] that are unanimous.”

For the photo gallery from that night, click:


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