The 'Dallas Buyers Club' star hailed the honour as a "great moment" in his career as he made a speech to a watching crowd which included his 'Interstellar' director Christopher Nolan and co-stars Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, his wife Camila Alves and their children Levi, six, Vida, four, and Livingston, 22 months.
He said: "It is a special day for me. This is a great moment in my career and my life...I only saw two or three films before I was 18 years old.
"I got my first job in Austin, Texas, on a film called 'Dazed & Confused'. Little did I know it'd turn out to be a career and something that I've learned to love and am learning to love even more."
The 45-year-old hunk went on to express his "pride" in his career and how lucky he feels to enjoy his work so much.
He added: "I am from Texas. We have a home in Texas, but this business and this industry, I feel like it's a privilege every single day that I get to get up on a Monday morning--I have a career that I look forward to Monday morning, to going to work. That I'm proud to be able to say.
"This industry has given me a lot, it's given me a chance to live out some dreams I didn't even know I had, dreams I'm still finding along the way, and what other business can you go live 'em out, but in this storytelling business?"
Following the ceremony, Matthew was seen speaking quietly to his eldest child, and later revealed he had been discussing how it was a "permanent" tribute to his work that the youngster could visit anytime.
He explained to E! News: "Oh, just sayin' that's there, and it's gonna be there. So I said, 'You can come back, with me or without me, and that'll still be there. You have kids one day, you can bring them here, that'll be there. Their kids can come back one day and they can see it. It's the most public and permanent award I've gotten, I mean there it is."
McConaughey said it wasn't for him to say whether this was a so-called "high point" of his career, but "it's a good point."