The 87th annual Academy Awards took place on Sunday night, and despite being considered one of the tamest in recent years, some have noticed that the traditional thanking of God during acceptance speeches has dwindled considerably. But you may be surprised to hear just how infrequent God is actually thanked during the popular awards ceremony.
In fact, God is not even close to the number one mention during those speeches as Steven Spielberg holds that honor.
Entertainment site Vocativ took a look at over 1,400 Academy Award acceptance speeches (updated to include last night's speeches) to find out who was thanked more than anyone else. Spielberg's impressive 42-time honor of being thanked stems from not only his own movies, but also from actors or directors who have named Spielberg as an influence.
But the seemingly long-held tradition of thanking God for the gifts that he has given to those enjoying the wins has been dwindling in recent years, which has less to do with Spielberg's influence and more to do with the perceived repercussions of mentioning The Almighty in a public venue.
In fact, last night's awards ceremony only had one mention of God in relation to praise during the entire three-hour-and-40-minute program, and that was from recording artist Common during his acceptance of the award for Best Original Song for "Glory" in the movie Selma.
"First off, I'd like to thank God that lives in us all," Common said during his speech. The artist went on to describe how he and John Legend wrote the song and the importance it holds for them. "Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform 'Glory' on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change."
John Legend continued the statement by talking very seriously about the issues of racial divide in America. "We live in the most incarcerated country in the world," he said. "There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850." Legend finished off his powerful speech with the words "God bless you."
According to the Vocativ list, God sits at the number six spot for thank-yous, behind not only Spielberg, but also Harvey Weinstein, James Cameron, George Lucas, and Peter Jackson. God has been thanked a total of 20 times now in all of the Academy's archived speeches, which is a surprisingly low number if you think about it. Those 20 mentions include acceptance speeches made by Matthew McConaughey, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Hudson, Forrest Whittaker, and Cuba Gooding Jr.
As the Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10-11, "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."