I was really surprised by Matthew McConaughey's Oscar acceptance speech at the Oscars. I've attended a handful of the award shows, most recently the NAACP awards show where every award recipient thanks God. When McConaughey took center stage last night I was not surprised. Everyone I know who saw The Dallas Buyer's Club said he was a shoe in for the Best Actor Oscar. What did surprise me was his speech, especially the part where he thanked God. I honestly can't think of a time when I've heard a white male Oscar winner thank God.
Giving thanks to God is something I know very well. I was raised by a preacher's daughter and spent day in and out in the church as child and a teenager. It was customary for anyone who took the microphone in church to first thank God. It was blasphemy if you did not give thanks and honor to God, the pastor, his wife, and the deacon board before beginning to speak about whatever you were there to say.
Over the years, contemporary artist and athletes, usual African American with the exception of Tim Tebow and country music singers have made it their business to acknowledge their faith and spiritual practices on the field and at the podium while being rewarded for excellent achievements. It's become so prevalent that I've stopped taking notice or caring, especially when something so personal becomes a firestorm of debate the way it did a few years ago when Tim Tebow played for the Denver Broncos. There seemed to have been a hope that his faith and outward acknowledgment of God would somehow give him magical powers to take his team to all the way. He inspired a spiritual revival amongst athletes and social media but his athletic skill set didn't translate to the NFL. I have never seen more Christian disappoint than his teams loss, since 2000 when Armageddon didn't happen when midnight struck.
Outward displays of affection toward God are something that most black people have experienced and even done, I'm assuming. However lately I'm really coming to learn that these deep religious bonds and acknowledgements are not a race thing but more of regional thing. Southern people love God. I'm not suggesting that Northerners don't love God, because they do, this is still America, however is it possible that southerners have a different way of showing their love for God? It's a thought.
The Twitter world turned into a party after McConaughey's acknowledgment of God and his reference to his father being "up there" (heaven) with support and contempt. It seems as a nation we are still very much divided on our religious views, outward displays of faith and affection toward God, and virtually unable to live and let live.
There is one thing I deeply appreciated about McConaughey's speech and that was his encouraging words to focus your attention on gratitude. He said, God has shown him it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. This was nice twist from other speeches where God is thanked. McConaughey actually managed to include God and Science in the same thought and that is genius in my humble opinion. Over all I found his speech entertaining. He is also easy on the eyes and a great actor who works hard at his craft. If I had one complaint, it would be that McConaughey referred to God as a he and not a she. Congratulations Matthew on your well deserved award. Keep counting your blessings.