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Who thanked God at the Oscars? No one!

  • If you thought 'God' was a given in people's acceptance speeches, think again
  • Historically, not many people thank a higher power
Oscars awards

It's a pretty typical rundown of thank-yous at the Academy Awards: Parents, co-workers, some sort of pertinent cause and, for a lot of people, a higher power. "I'd like to thank God and the Academy...", you know how it is.

Except, this year, the man upstairs got nary a mention from the Oscars' top winners. The closest we got was Best Director Ang Lee's reference to "movie god." No Yahweh, Allah, Buddha or Krishna either.

It's a weird thing to think about, on a night when so many stars win so many things and thank so many people; If you weren't listening too hard, you'd probably assume to find some religious references sprinkled in there. But they are surprisingly scant, not just this year, but in all of Oscars history as well.

According to the "Thank the Academy" project, which keeps track of Oscar trends, a very small percentage of winners in the top five categories (Leading/Supporting Actor, Leading/Supporting Actress, and Director) ever make a religious reference of any kind (15-30% on average). In fact, only two religious references were recorded before 1980.  And it's most typically the ladies -- in the last few years, the only winners to make a religious reference in their acceptance speech were Meryl Streep, Octavia Spencer, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Tom Hooper.

So, what can we take from this trend? Probably nothing, other than the fact you may be assuming a lot about who people thank and why. After all, Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis thanked "the mysteriously beautiful mind, body and spirit of Abraham Lincoln." We didn't see that one coming, either.


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