The 2014 Oscars will be dominated by films based on a true stories, and a worthy addition to that lengthy list is Dallas Buyers Club, the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a Texas electrician who went to war with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986.

Matthew McConaugheyMatthew Mcconaughey as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club

Playing Woodroof is Matthew McConaughey, and the chain-smoking, whiskey-downing cocaine-sniffing rodeo cowboy is masterfully portrayed in Dallas Buyers, or so says the reviews. Now we’re looking at another Oscar contender.

“In Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey blazes in a role that Oscar voters will be powerless to keep off their shortlist,” say The Telegraph following the film’s Toronto Film Festival screening. Having been diagnosed with HIV, Woodroof was given 30 days to live. He started taking AZT – the only legal type of antiretroviral drug used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS infection on the U.S – which brought him within an inch of his life.

Matthew McConaughy and Jared LetoMatthew McConaughy and Jared Leto

To survive, he engaged in smuggling non-toxic, anti-viral medications from all over the world, leading other sufferers from the disease to seek his help. Starring alongside McConaughey ia Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Lawrence Turner and Dallas Robert, amongst others. For Leto, transforming into his character of Rayon - a transsexual with AIDS – represented a Christian Bale-esque weight loss program.

“I stopped eating,” he told TheWrap. “It wasn’t an easy thing to do. It was 30 or 40 pounds. After a while I stopped counting. It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think.” That rather dangerous and unadvisable technique seems to have paid dividends, for both Leto and McConaughey, who both lost weight to accurately portray their subject matter.

Check out the Dallas Buyers Club trailer here

“The best actor race is jam-packed this year, but I think that McConaughey, thanks to his charismatic performance and dramatic physical transformation - he lost nearly 50 pounds for the part and at times looks outright skeletal - has a good shot at cracking it,” say The Hollywood Reporter.

Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer GarnerMatthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner strike up a close relationship

Considering both McConaughey and Leto are up against a whole host of legends, including any of the Monuments Men cast – doubly for George Clooney, who’s looking good for something between that and Gravity – it’ll be a tough list to break, but the early reviews are indicating that Dallas Buyers Club and its cast will have a strong presence come February 2014.

Dallas Buyers Club is due out on 1 November in the U.S and 7 February in the UK.

Dallas Buyers Club - Dallas Cowboys clip