As Oscar campaigns heat up, endorsements often roll in from unlikely sources. Case in point: Liza Minnelli, who was on hand Monday to toast "Dallas Buyers Club" at a New York luncheon with Academy voters, and promised to hand over her own Oscar to Matthew McConaughey if he doesn't nab an award for his role in the film.
With voters' ballots due at 5 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Minnelli's rousing speech at the luncheon -- which was hosted by Focus Features, the studio that released "Dallas Buyers Club" -- left Academy members in attendance with about 48 hours to cast their votes in McConaughey's favor if the actress is to keep her own statuette. (Minnelli won an Academy Award in 1973 for "Cabaret.")
"I have nothing to do with this film except that I am a fan of how it was done, of the insight and the way they played these characters," Minnelli said, as transcribed by The Hollywood Reporter. "And the fact that you were watching something that wasn't necessarily comfortable but you could not stop watching. It drew you in, whether you wanted it to or not, and that's magic. That's magic. I mean, the last one [that did that for me] was 'On the Waterfront.' [laughs] You, crazy Matthew, losing all of that weight [pats her stomach] -- it's one thing to lose all of that weight and to look like that -- that's harrowing enough -- but then to run like you did, with a body like that? And Jared, I mean, everything that you did -- all of the placements, every single second -- I felt wonderful for you, proud of you and sorry for you all at the same time, which I think one only feels for your friends. And Jennifer [Garner] was great -- she was just f---ing great! [laughs] I don't know what else to say. I haven't seen a movie like that in so long, and I'm so proud to be able to tell everybody. And honey [addressing McConaughey], if you don't win the Academy Award, I'm giving you mine!"
Minnelli's grand speech might bolster support for McConaughey's awards success before the Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 16, but given the success of "Dallas Buyers Club" in the precursor awards, the film may not need much of a boost. The drama has racked up multiple nominations, particularly for McConaughey and co-star Jared Leto. Both actors earned nods from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Critics' Choice Awards and Satellite Awards. The movie also earned recognition from the Producers Guild Awards -- considered a prognosticator for Best Picture -- and the Writers Guild Awards.