Why Is It Awkward When Movie Stars Talk About God?

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

Athletes praising Jesus on television are as ubiquitous as Geico commercials, so why was best actor Matthew McConaughey’s God-loving acceptance speech Sunday night so uncomfortable?

Perhaps it’s because we’re so frequently told that Hollywood is the domain of secular hedonists. To the extent that the entertainment industry is religious, it’s in the Scientology vein. To have McConaughey proclaim “first off I want to thank God, ’cause that’s who I look up to,” is somehow a bit jarring.

But what made the speech truly strange, as opposed to merely unexpected, was the actor’s praise not of the almighty, but of himself. Now, you have to be a bit self-involved to succeed in show business, but you don’t need to be so public about it. McConaughey told the billion or so viewers Sunday night that “my hero,” the person he most aspires to be, is his future self. It’s a mystical sort of narcissism that you kind of need to see to understand and/or believe.

But hey, at least we got a signature, “awright, awright, awright” out of the deal. And man does he look good for a 44-year-old.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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