My Post-Oscars Speech

[I wanted to post this yesterday, but my immune system decided to have a Spring Break, too.]

Confession: There is a celebrity fan somewhere deep inside of me.

Yes, I watched the Oscars, and yes, I marveled at the gorgeous designer gowns (surprisingly modest and tastefully worn for Hollywood, by the way) as they walked the red carpet.

Even though I’ve only seen a grand total of two academy-award nominated movies from 2013 (one of them may or may not have been animated), I still enjoyed seeing all of the stars in one place, when they’re not being someone else.

A smattering of thoughts about the Oscars

1. Ellen DeGeneres is funny. Do I agree with her life choices? No. But she’s funny, and I think she did a good job hosting the Oscars. Here’s the thing: there are a lot of people in the world with whose lifestyles I don’t agree, but that doesn’t stop me from laughing at their jokes, taking in their art, or appreciating how they’re using the talents God gave them. And the fact of the matter is that we’re all sinners. So the two questions I keep coming back to are these: Why should I expect unbelievers to behave as believers? And why should I completely despise someone just because their sin looks differently than mine? 

2. “…to the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.” Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave (which won best movie) ended his acceptance speech with a reminder that slavery is not yet abolished. It’s not about the color of one’s skin anymore, but it’s still happening, and 21 million people is 21 million too many. It’s refreshing to see celebrities using their platforms for things that really matter. Now here’s my cue — I’ll be the killjoy to wonder how many slaves could have been freed or people fed with the money spent on the Oscars…?

3. The Oscars are golden statues. Lupita Nyong’o won best supporting actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave. She gave a magnificent acceptance speech and in it said something amazingly profound: “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s…” She was speaking of the story told in her movie, about slavery and the evil that went on so many years ago. But there’s a greater story that holds the same truth. Jesus Christ is the one who took all the pain in the world and more—for her life, for my life, and for yours.

4. Jennifer Lawrence is the real deal. She may be a professional liar, but in real life (as real life as the Academy Awards can be) she seems pretty genuine. If nothing else, she’s a darn good sport about her eventful walks at the last two Oscars.

5. Matthew McConaughey hit his acceptance speech out of the park. After the obligatory thank-yous—the Academy, the other nominees, his co-stars and director—he began his prepared speech by thanking God. Yes, God. He publicly acknowledged God’s hand in his life, something nobody expects to hear from any Oscar winner. He might not have been theologically flawless, and he didn’t quote John 3:16 or anything like that, but he thanked God from the live stage of the Oscars. And I will applaud him for it.

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