The great tragedy of politics taking center stage at every Oscar telecast is that they overshadow the classier moments: Speeches marked by gratitude, humility, and triumph — the kind that these ceremonies originally sponsored. On Sunday night, such a moment came when musician Jon Batiste thanked God after winning the Oscar for Original Score alongside Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Pixar’s “Soul.”
At the top of his speech, Batiste praised God’s musical genius by giving humanity 12 notes to work within, becoming a divine language that has been echoed throughout history.
“You know what’s deep is God gave us 12 notes, it’s the same 12 notes that Duke Ellington had, that Bach had, Nina Simone,” he said. “I want to point out that every gift is special. Every contribution with music that comes from the divine into the instruments into the film, into the minds, hearts and souls of every person who hears it, the stories that happen when you listen to it and watch it and the stories you share, the moments you make, the memories you create, man, it’s just so incredibly special. It’s just so incredibly special… we’re incredibly humbled and thankful. I’m thankful to God for those 12 notes.”
As noted by Deadline, Batiste became the “third Black winner of the original score category after Prince in 1985 for Purple Rain and Herbie Hancock for Round Midnight in 1987.”
God rarely gets a mention at the Oscars. According to a study by Vocativ in 2015 that analyzed 1,396 acceptance speeches, God ranked number six on the list of those who received the most gratitude on Oscar night while disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein ranked number 2:
High up at the top of the list is director-cum-mogul Steven Spielberg, who has been thanked an outrageous 42 times from the Oscar podium, not only by people who starred in his movies, like Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), but also by those who were simply inspired by him, such as Sam Mendes (American Beauty).
Ranked second, with 25 percent fewer nods than Spielberg, is former Miramax and current Weinstein Company head Harvey Weinstein. He produced a best picture winner with Shakespeare in Love and several films that featured Oscar-winning performances, including Inglourious Basterds, The King’s Speech and Chicago. When you thank Harvey, everyone knows who you’re talking about.
Occupying the next three spots are men known primarily as directors who have cumulatively produced more than 120 films. James Cameron comes in third with 28 thank-yous, mostly from those who worked behind the scenes on Titanic, The Terminator and Avatar. George Lucas follows with 23, and Peter Jackson clocks in with a respectable 22 from the many people who won Oscars for their work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Sixth on the list is God, who’s never produced, directed or acted in a film, unless you think he was working through Morgan Freeman in Evan Almighty.
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