Sunday night’s Academy Awards show was the pits. Co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway did all they could with the material they were given…well, Hathaway did; Franco seemed a little disinterested (or, rather, high). There were no surprises as far as who took home an award, though Melissa Leo’s acceptance speech raised a few eyebrows. Reviews of the show have been considerably mixed, but if there’s something to take away from the whole three-hour affair, it’s this: we can all rest easy now that God has lost his Oscar vote—really, the Academy Awards is better off.
Maybe you didn’t notice. Throughout the many acceptance speeches heard on Sunday evening, not once was God thanked. Strange, considering it’s long been the cliché to thank the Big Guy. The reasoning, I suppose, runs something like this: a) you’re of a religious faith, and feel you should pay The Man his dues; b) you believe in the generic and easy-to-assemble God, and you feel pretty darn magnanimous thanking him; or c) you don’t really care, but thanking him is what everybody’s doing, so why the hell not?
Trouble was, when a hot shot celebrity looked skywards and sent a few words of gratitude up to the palace in the clouds, it often seemed like reason c) was their primary motivation. Usually that celebrity thanking God was the one making the news for snorting cocaine off of a prostitute’s posterior. After awhile, the whole “Thank you, dear Lord” seemed a little disingenuous, even if (on the rarest of occasions) the person saying it was actually a practicing and devout follower of their faith. This year, with not a single thank you aimed at Mr. G.O.D., the acceptance speeches seemed a little more sincere, a little more heartfelt.
But the problem is more complicated than that. As others have said before me, if God does exit, then why would he care about something that is as essentially trivial as the Academy Awards? Do we really believe that he concerns himself with and influences who wins and who loses? As some have compared, it’s rather peculiar that, while God couldn’t stop the Holocaust, for example, he still has a vote at the Oscars. That’s taking it to the extreme, but the point is made, and it’s a valid one—if God does cast a ballot, then it raises a hell of a moral dilemma.
I say, if you win an Oscar (or any other award for that matter), don’t thank God. If your Heavenly Father expects you to take responsibility for the things you do wrong, then, by God, take responsibility for the things you do right. Maybe your successes are just that—yours.
So, looking back at Sunday’s Academy Awards, I’m mostly underwhelmed—the show was a bore. But, progress was made—we left God at home. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not the absence of God that matters, but how that absence can lead to a more thoughtful and meaningful progression in our thinking and understanding of the divine and how the divine interacts with our lives.
And for that I’m thankful.
Rowing For Pleasure is a weekly opinions column written by Z S Roe. Please leave a comment or question—all opinions are welcome, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. If you like what you read here, please subscribe.