Matthew McConaughey to Receive Acting Honor at Hollywood Film Awards (Exclusive)

The actor is being honored for his work in "Dallas Buyers Club," in which he plays a real-life AIDS patient who begins importing and selling anti-viral medications.
Fabrizio Maltese

Matthew McConaughey, the popular A-list movie star and sex symbol who has also shown some serious acting chops in recent years, will receive the Hollywood Actor Award for his work in Jean-Marc Vallee's Dallas Buyers Club at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards -- the first awards show of the 2013 season -- on Oct. 21 at the Beverly Hilton, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively. (The Hollywood Film Awards is owned by affiliates of THR parent company Guggenheim Partners.)

In Dallas Buyers Club, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, McConaughey portrays Ron Woodroof -- a real person -- who begins importing and selling nontoxic, anti-viral medications to fight AIDS that have not been approved by the FDA but have proven vastly more effective than any that have been approved. They don't stop the progression of the deadly plague, but they slow it considerably. He shed 50 pounds to play the part.

STORY: Toronto: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto Make Oscar Cases in 'Dallas Buyers Club

The Hollywood Film Awards are determined by founder and executive director Carlos de Abreu and an advisory committee.

De Abreu tells THR, "Already acclaimed for his risk-taking work, Matthew McConaughey now achieves a career-defining performance portraying Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. It is a privilege to honor him for this role and celebrate his achievement."

McConaughey, 43, has been a big name in the business for 20 years. After breaking through in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993), he went on to star in William Dear's Angels in the Outfield (1994), Joel Schumacher's A Time to Kill (1996), John Sayles' Lone Star (1996), Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997), Robert Zemeckis' Contact (1997), Ron Howard's Edtv (1999), Jonathan Mostow's U-571 (2000), Adam Shankman's The Wedding Planner (2001), Donald Petrie's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Breck Eisner's Sahara (2005), Tom Dey's Failure to Launch (2006), McG's We Are Marshall (2006), William Friedkin's Killer Joe (2011), Brad Furman's The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), Linklater's Bernie (2012), Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike (2012), Lee Daniels' The Paperboy (2012) and this summer's indie hit Mud (2013), which was written and directed by Jeff Nichols.

Previous recipients of the Hollywood Actor Award include Jackie Chan (1999), Russell Crowe (2000), Ewan McGregor (2001), Tom Hanks (2002), Johnny Depp (2003), Leonardo DiCaprio (2004), Joaquin Phoenix (2005), Forest Whitaker (2006), Richard Gere (2007) Josh Brolin (2008), Robert De Niro (2009), Robert Duvall (2010), George Clooney (2011) and Bradley Cooper (2012). Crowe and Whitaker went on to win the best actor Oscar just months after collecting theirs, while Hanks, Depp, DiCaprio, Clooney and Cooper received nominations.

VIDEO: Matthew McConaughey on His AIDS Drama 'Dallas Buyers Club': 'It Was Wild'

Last month, the Hollywood Film Awards and Dick Clark Productions, which also produce the Golden Globe Awards, entered into a partnership that could lead to the ceremony being televised in future years. Over the past 10 years, Hollywood Film Awards honorees went on to garner a total of 96 Oscar nominations and 34 Oscars.

Other 2013 honorees who have already been announced include 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o; 42's supporting actor Harrison Ford; August: Osage County's supporting actress Julia Roberts; Before Midnight lead actress/co-screenwriter Julie Delpy, lead actor/co-screenwriter Ethan Hawke and co-screenwriter/director Richard Linklater; Behind the Candelabra producer Jerry Weintraub; Captain Phillips producer Michael De Luca; Dallas Buyers Club's supporting actor Jared Leto; Gravity's lead actress Sandra Bullock; Monsters University's director Kori Rae Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae; Pacific Rim visual effects supervisor John Knoll; and Prisoners' supporting actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg