A few years ago, it would’ve been nigh-on impossible to imagine Matthew McCaonaughy as an Oscar favourite. But that’s exactly what he is. In fact, he and Jared Leto, who star and stun in Dallas Buyers Club, are in line to each take home a statuette on March 2nd.

Matthew McConaughey and Jared LetoMatthew Mcconaughey and Jared Leto in The Dallas Buyers Club

McConaughey plays Ron Woodruff, the true-to-life cowboy-turned-activist, who himself was given 30 days to live after contracting the HIV/Aids virus.

In terms of a character arc, that of Woodruff’s is perfect: he’s a bad guy, a womanizer, a thief, a homophobe. Something bad happens. He becomes a good guy. But there’s more to both the film and the role than that, and it’s brought to life vivaciously by current Hollywood hot-streaker McConaughey.

“What I enjoy about an anti-hero is you don't have to abide by society's laws”, he told us. “Actually, they're outside the law. He's a guy who I think shook the tree enough to where it's possible that the FDA approves certain drugs that have worked for HIV sooner than maybe they would've.”

McConaughey famously lost some serious weight to play the role of a deteriorating Woodruff - 50 pounds of weight to be exact. And it was that dedication, in part at least, that has lead him to become odds on favourite to take home the Oscar for Best Actor.

Watch McConaughey's interview in full right here

“I talked with two nutritionists, did my research, found out what not to do. and then I just committed to it and I had the support of my family and my wife and I ate controlled meals,” he explained. “I'm a runner in real life and that particular scene, I hadn't exercised in four months and I stretched because it was a short run but I knew I had to run', he reveals. “I made it 20 feet and my thighs just locked up and my legs buckled and I went down.”

Jared Leto took on the role of Rayon in the movie, a transgender HIV patient with a curious, almost cheeky candour. Rayon befriends a homophobic, closed-minded Woodruff, but soon after entering into business with him, changes his outlook on life. The character of Rayon, unlike Woodruff, isn’t based on real life, rather a representation of the type of people he would meet and the change in his personality once he was diagnosed with the disease.

“I read the script and immediately I was just blown away,” revealed Leto. “I fell in love with the character and I felt that this was a real opportunity here to portray a real person, not a cliché or a stereotype. It’s Texas, it's 1985, you've got this cowboy and this young man who's chosen to live as a woman. A really brave choice; I couldn't imagine how terrifying it must've been to walk through a grocery store at that time,” he adds.

Both McConaughey and Leto are up for Oscars, and you can follow all the action on Academy night right here on Contact Music.

Watch the full interview with Jared Leto