In 2013 during the 86th Academy Awards, Matthew McConaughey won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his character in The Dallas Buyer’s Club – based on a true story. He played the Ron Woodroof who was a Texan rodeo-riding electrician who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and was originally given 30 days to live. He died seven years later due to complications from Aids in 1992. McConaughey’s character broke the law in attempt to stay alive by smuggling in drugs and basically selling them on the black market.
McConaughey lost 47 pounds for the role. He began his speech by thanking God. He said, “First off, I want to thank God, because 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.'"
In 2012 during Oprah Winfrey’s Lifeclass in New York City, she made a profession of faith to her millions of fans. Oprah opened up about her spiritual journey and how she aligned her values of tolerance, acceptance, and reverence for life. Many people have doubted Oprah’s faith as a Christian in the past due to the fact that she has had people of different faiths on her show and similar disparities. However, during her speech Oprah was very open about what God has taught her: to respect people of all faiths, be loving and kind to strangers, and open her mind! This isn’t Oprah’s first time speaking about the Lord, saying in her acceptance speech at the 84th Academy Awards that she knows without Him she would never be where she is today and He ultimately changed her life.
Steph Curry is the first NBA athlete to be unanimously picked as the Most Valuable Player. Curry is known for being speaking out on his faith whether it’s during a press conference or in the locker. During his MVP speech and throughout other interviews he’s participated in Curry has called out Lord and Savior for standing by his side and blessing him with more than he could have ever hoped or dreamed for.
“I want to thank God, obviously for the health, for the talent He's given me, for my family who supports me, for the things that basketball's taught me on and off the court. For the people that I've been able to meet through the game of basketball," the 28-year-old said. "I've been blessed in that regard through and through. So I'm just thankful for this opportunity to play the game that I love and share that with the world."
Curry pounds his chest and points up during his game play because that is his way of remembering that he has a heart of God and plays the game of basketball for God.
Cuba Gooding, Jr.
At the 1997 Oscars Cuba Gooding, Jr. won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film Jerry Maguire. In the speech Gooding put his hands in the air and said halleluiah praise the Lord. Those words are spoken so genuinely and naturally by Gooding that you get goosebumps because you know deep down that he truly praises the God for his many blessings. He goes onto to thank God for giving him the many gifts in his life and allowed him to pursue him dreams as an actor. Gooding has never really been outspoken about his faith; however when he thanked the man upstairs for his award you could see the personal relationship that Gooding has with his Lord and Savior. And sometimes those are the best and most memorable moments because you don’t expect the support and love. Gooding was experiencing a vulnerable moment and he wanted to acknowledge God for everything He had done to make this all a possibility.
Kevin Durant is not shy about his love and devotion for God. When he accepted the Most Valuable Player award in 2014, Durant immediately thanked God for the opportunity to pursue his dreams. “First off, I'd like to thank God for changing my life. It let me really realize what life is all about. Basketball is just a platform in order for me to inspire people, and I realize that,” said Durant. In fact, Durant credits pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong New York City for teaching him that God is entirely about love, which helped him clear his mind from the misconceptions he had previously been bogged down with. In an interview with GW Magazine Durant gave credit to God for every game his team has won and further commented by saying that Jesus was the Lord of his game.
The MVP speech was one of the biggest platforms in which Durant has spoken – and the award is one of the highest honors he’s accepted. Therefore, when he pays homage to his Lord and Savior that speaks volumes about his character and overall lifestyle.