Oscar Winners Thank God A Lot In Acceptance Speeches, But Not As Often As You'd Think


Oscar winners always thank God, right?


The stars who win big at the Oscars aren’t looking to heaven during their acceptance speeches -- they’re looking at Steven Spielberg.

The renowned American film director is thanked more often during Oscars acceptance speeches than the Good Lord Almighty himself, Vocativ reports.

With the 87th Academy Awards slated to air on Sunday, Vocativ mined through 1,396 acceptance speeches currently archived on Academy’s website to measure who got the most “Thank Yous” from winners.

Spielberg came in at number one, with 42 mentions, followed by Harvey Weinstein, James Cameron, George Lucas, Peter Jackson. God came in at number six, with just 19 mentions.

It should be noted that a number of acceptance speeches from the earliest years of the awards haven’t yet been added to the Academy’s acceptance speech database. As a result, Vocativ’s survey isn’t conclusive.

Still, it seems the dream-come-true moment inspires many winners to give thanks to forces greater than themselves. Here are a few of the celebrities who gave God a thumbs up during their time in the spotlight.

Winner: Haing S. Ngor
Year: 1984 (57th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Supporting Role
Film Title: The Killing Fields
Presenter: Linda Hunt
Date & Venue: March 25, 1985; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

This unbelievable, but so is my entire life. . . And I thank God Buddah that tonight I'm even here. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Winner: Prince
Year: 1984 (57th) Academy Awards
Category: Music (Original Song Score)
Film Title: Purple Rain
Presenter: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner
Date & Venue: March 25, 1985; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

This is very unbelievable. I could've never imagined this in my wildest dreams. And I would like to thank the Academy . . . and most of all, God. Thank you very much.

Winner: To Richard Williams for the animation direction of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
Year: 1988 (61st) Academy Awards
Category: Special Achievement Award
Film Title: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Presenter: Robin Williams, Charles Fleischer
Date & Venue: March 29, 1989; Shrine Civic Auditorium

Thank you very much, members of the Academy and Carl Bell. I have to thank, first, Steven Spielberg for having the enormous prestige to mid-wife the whole thing and get all those different, competing cartoons in the same movie. Then to Jeffrey Katzenberg, who kept his cool under tremendous duress, and thank God or I wouldn't be here tonight.

Winner: Tom Hanks
Year: 1993 (66th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Leading Role
Film Title: Philadelphia
Presenter: Emma Thompson
Date & Venue: March 21, 1994; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. They number a thousand for each one of the red ribbons that we wear here tonight. They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all. A healing embrace that cools their fevers, that clears their skin, and allows their eyes to see the simple, self-evident, common sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia two hundred years ago. God bless you all. God have mercy on us all. And God bless America.

Winner: Mel Gibson
Year: 1995 (68th) Academy Awards
Category: Directing
Film Title: Braveheart
Presenter: Robert Zemeckis
Date & Venue: March 25, 1996; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

I'd like to thank the Academy first of all. . . And God, for indulging me in this tiny moment.

Winner: Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Year: 1996 (69th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Supporting Role
Film Title: Jerry Maguire
Presenter: Mira Sorvino
Date & Venue: March 24, 1997; Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center

God, I love you. Hallelujah. Thank you, Father God, for putting me through what you put me through, but I'm here and I'm happy.

Winner: Denzel Washington
Year: 2001 (74th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Leading Role
Film Title: Training Day
Presenter: Julia Roberts
Date & Venue: March 24, 2002; Kodak Theatre

Oh, God is good. God is great. God is great. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.

Winner: Adrien Brody
Year: 2002 (75th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Leading Role
Film Title: The Pianist
Presenter: Halle Berry
Date & Venue: March 23, 2003; Kodak Theatre

This is, you know, it fills me with great joy, but I am also filled with a lot of sadness tonight because I'm accepting an award at such a strange time. And, you know, my experiences in making this film made me very aware of the sadness and the dehumanization of people at times of war, and the repercussions of war. And whomever you believe in, if it's God or Allah, may He watch over you. And let's pray for a peaceful and swift resolution.

Winner: Conrad L. Hall (accepted by his son, Conrad W. Hall)
Year: 2002 (75th) Academy Awards
Category: Cinematography
Film Title: Road to Perdition
Presenter: Julia Roberts
Date & Venue: March 23, 2003; Kodak Theatre
[Ed. note: Mr. Conrad L. Hall passed away in January of 2003.]

It's been said that God gives each and every one of us the gift of life and what we do with that life is our gift back to Him. I can't think of a better gift than my father. Dad, wherever you are, you will be gone but you'll never be forgotten. Thank you.

Winner: Forest Whitaker
Year: 2006 (79th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Leading Role
Film Title: The Last King of Scotland
Presenter: Reese Witherspoon
Date & Venue: February 25, 2007; Kodak Theatre

I want to thank my mom and my dad; I want to thank my wife Keisha, my children, my ancestors who continue to guide my steps, and God, God who believes in us all and who's given me this moment in this lifetime that I will hopefully carry to the end of my lifetime into the next lifetime. Thank you.

Winner: Jennifer Hudson
Year: 2006 (79th) Academy Awards
Category: Actress in a Supporting Role
Film Title: Dreamgirls
Presenter: George Clooney
Date & Venue: February 25, 2007; Kodak Theatre

Oh my God. I have to just take this moment in. I cannot believe this. Look what God can do. . . Wow. Oh my God. Unbelievable cast. I'd like to thank the Academy. Definitely have to thank God, I guess, again. I can't believe this. Wow, I don't know what to say but I thank you all for helping me keep the faith even when I didn't believe. Thank you and God bless you all.

Winner: A.R. Rahman
Year: 2008 (81st) Academy Awards
Category: Music (Original Score)
Film Title: Slumdog Millionaire
Presenter: Zac Efron, Alicia Keys
Date & Venue: February 22, 2009; Kodak Theatre

I want to tell something in Tamil, which says, which I normally say after every award, which is: Ella puhazhum iraivanukke. "God is great." Thank you.

Winner: Written by Dustin Lance Black
Year: 2008 (81st) Academy Awards
Category: Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Title: Milk
Presenter: Steve Martin, Tina Fey
Date & Venue: February 22, 2009; Kodak Theatre

When I was thirteen years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas, to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married. I wanna, I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us thirty years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you,God, for giving us Harvey Milk.

Winner: Oprah Winfrey
Year: 2011 (84th) Academy Awards
Category: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Presenter: Lawrence Gordon, John Travolta, Maria Shriver, Ayanna Hall
Date & Venue: November 12, 2011; The Governors Awards (Grand Ballroom, Hollywood & Highland Center)

The first line of the book [The Color Purple] is, "Dear God, I'm fourteen years old..." And I had lived that life and couldn't imagine that someone was able to put into words what I had already experienced. And so began this journey that I was able to really understand that God's hand, or power greater than myself, "the forces," as Sidney Poitier calls them, were engaged in leading my life to a plane and a level that I had not even imagined. But I released myself to those forces, and literally said inside myself, "Thy will be done."

Winner: Matthew McConaughey
Year: 2013 (86th) Academy Awards
Category: Actor in a Leading Role
Film Title: Dallas Buyers Club
Presenter: Jennifer Lawrence
Date & Venue: March 2, 2014; Dolby Theatre

First off, I want to thank God, 'cause that's who I look up to. He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton, who said, "When you've got God, you've got a friend. And that friend is you."

Winner: Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers (Janet Friesen accepted for her husband; accompanied on stage by film subject Darlene Love)
Year: 2013 (86th) Academy Awards
Category: Documentary (Feature)
Film Title: 20 Feet from Stardom
Presenter: Bradley Cooper
Date & Venue: March 2, 2014; Dolby Theatre

Darlene Love: Lord God, I praise you and I am so happy to be here representing the ladies of "20 Feet from Stardom." [Sings:] "I sing because I'm happy. I sing because I'm free. 'Cause His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me." Alton, I love you.

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