Sam Smith Called Out For Implying He Was The First Openly Gay Male Oscars Winner
Sam Smith hoped to show support for the LGBT community when he won the Oscar for Best Original Song. “I read an article by Sir Ian McKellen and he said that no openly gay man had won an Oscar,” he said. “If that is the case, or if that isn’t the case, I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community around the world.”
According to screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, however, Sam missed the mark for implying that he was the first. To help the singer with his fact-checking, Dustin posted his own Oscars speech from 2009, when he won Best Screenplay for Milk, as in the openly gay public official Harvey Milk. “Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé,” he said on Twitter.
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) February 29, 2016
Sam was referring to an interview where Sir Ian McKellen, of the Lord of the Rings franchise, wondered why an openly gay actor has yet to win an Oscar. Furthermore, as The Guardian points out, Smith actually joins the ranks of Elton John (The Lion King‘s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”) and Stephen Sondheim (Dick Tracy‘s “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” as openly gay male winners for Best Original Song.
Dustin wasn’t the only person to correct Sam. Backstage, a reporter told the singer that actually, the first openly gay male to win an Oscar was Howard Ashman. “I should know him. We should date,” Sam joked. However, had Sam known who Howard was, he would have thought twice about saying that. In 1991, after penning other winning songs for Disney animated adaptations, Howard won posthumously for the title track to Beauty and the Beast; he died of AIDS before the awards show. (Skip to 4:00 to see Sam’s comments below.)
“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,” Dustin added on Twitter today (February 29).
Dustin’s fiancé is Olympic swimmer Tom Daley.