When Sam Smith submitted that he may be the first openly gay man to win an Oscar at last night’s 88th Academy Awards, he overlooked just one small detail…
He wasn’t. Not by a long shot.
In his moments of elation behind the microphone while accepting his award, however, Sam Smith’s powerful and supportive words for the gay community became overshadowed by one misdirected implication.
Misquoting words from gay actor Sir Ian McKellen, Smith implied that no openly gay actor had ever won an Academy Award, but regardless of whether or not that were true, he would like to dedicate his victory to the LGBT community.
Unfortunately for Smith, his altruistic words soon became the center of some fairly heated controversy within the gay community.
Smith’s initial words as a ‘proud gay man’ dedicating his Oscar to the LGBT community around the world were greeted with roaring applause by the audience.
— ABC Network (@ABCNetwork) February 29, 2016
First thing’s first: congratulations to Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes on their win for Best Original Song with “Writing’s On the Wall” from Spectre. With Mr. Smith’s impassioned performance of the song during the ceremony, it was clear that his victory was well-earned.
And while many viewers around the globe quickly took to Twitter and other platforms to correct Smith’s statement, one of the biggest voices to rebuke the artist was director, screenwriter, gay activist, and Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black.
Lance Black chastised Smith, writing “Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé.” Dustin, who is engaged to Olympic diver Tom Daley, then shared a video of his acceptance speech from his win for Best Original Screenplay in 2009 with MILK.
He later tweeted “THE POINT: knowing our LGBTQ history is important. We stand on the shoulders of countless brave men and women who paved the way for us.”
Of course, Lance Black and others were referring to the long history of gay winners at the Academy Awards, whose victories go back decades. Below are some of those winners.