When Sam Smith took the stage the 88th Oscars to accept his award for best original song, “Writing’s On The Wall,” he was not the first openly gay man to win one of Hollywood’s coveted gold statues — but he thought he might be.
During his speech, Smith referenced an interview with actor Ian McKellan. Smith said he believed McKellan had previously said that no out gay man has ever won an Academy Award. Smith was a bit confused on the details. McKellan had discussed out Oscar winners, but said that no openly gay man had ever won best actor, not just any Oscar.
“I read an article a few months ago by Sir Ian McKellen and he said that no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar, and if this is the case, even if it isn’t the case, I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world,” Smith said. “I stand here tonight as a proud gay man, and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day.”
Several openly gay men have taken home Oscars over the years. In 2008, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, won for his work on “Milk.” Black called out Smith’s mistake on Twitter following the show and included a video of his emotional acceptance speech in which Black talked about growing up gay and the fight for equal rights.
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) February 29, 2016
I’ve never been so fucking nervous in my entire life. PHWOAAAAAAAR
— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) February 29, 2016
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