He started out this year as a popular television actor of the USA series, “White Collar,” who had impressive physical assets that adorned films like “Magic Mike,” but 2014 was the year Matt Bomer proved that his acting chops were just as impressive as his blue eyes and toned physique.
Sure, TV fans will always remember that Bomer was first noticed for his role of con man Neal Caffrey on “White Collar” but over the years he’s made sure we were reminded that he could also do comedy (“The New Normal“) and he could sing (“Glee“) but this year he knocked it out of the park time and time again.
In May, HBO aired “The Normal Heart” and it was the chemistry between Bomer and Mark Ruffalo that grounded the film, directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted from Larry Kramer’s heart-wrenching play of the same name. Bomer brings Felix to life when he and Ruffalo’s Ned Weeks first get together but then we see the life leave Felix as he dies of AIDS in the toughest scene of the film to watch. The entire cast, which also included Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff and Alfred Molina, was solid across the board but Bomer was the stand out.
As he told me in May, he’s seen a shift in the world since there are scenes of intimacy between Bomer and Ruffalo in the film and it didn’t create the waves of negativity it might have 10-20 years ago. “I’m certainly aware of it in my life,” he told me. “I mean, look at the times going on around us. We have an openly gay player in the NFL draft, we have all kinds of walls being broken down every day. So, yeah, I’m aware of it in my life, but I think in my work…certainly when you’re working with somebody that intimately I try not to think about those things that aren’t immediately applicable to the scene. I just was trying to think in terms of this is somebody I’m falling in love with and how do I want to relate to him in this scene. When you start hearing too many voices in your head, ‘oh my God, what’s my Grandma going to think?’ and then you’re not really in the right place as an actor.” (You can read the rest of the interview here.)
Having interviewed Bomer over the years, another thing shifted this year for the actor, he was more open than ever about his life including the revelation that he and longtime partner Simon Halls had gotten married three years ago. Sure, he’s still private but I know being able to ask him his thoughts on marriage was something I probably wouldn’t have ventured to ask a few years back.
Due to “The Normal Heart,” the accolades came in and the actor won the Critics Choice Award for his role and was nominated for his first Emmy Award. That’s not all, though.
Bomer also took the route of comedy this summer with the release of “Space Station 76”, where he played an unhappily married (to a woman) mechanic on a space station in the 1970s. While he’d already proven on “White Collar” that being out in his real life didn’t impact his portrayal of a heterosexual character, Bomer also showed once again that he has just as strong a handle on comedy as drama.
Recently, as the final episodes of “White Collar” started airing, Bomer also jumped into a guest spot on Murphy’s horror series, “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” Is there anything the actor can’t do? Not really!
2015 looks to be just as busy of a year as Bomer has already shot “Magic Mike XXL,” the sequel to the Channing Tatum hit as well as “The Nice Guys” feature starring Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger.
"White Collar" airs Thursdays at 9pm on the USA Network. The series finale airs December 18.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.