Last night, Sam Smith somehow won an Oscar for Best Original Song. The award was given to him for “Writing’s on the Wall,” the theme to Spectre, the latest James Bond flick. It is a bad song. His performance of it was bad. Yet his acceptance speech was somehow worse.
Smith took to the stage with bearded bravado and dove into a story about an article he read. Written by Sir Ian McKellen, the article, according to Smith, stated that no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar. Unfortunately for him, that’s not what the article said. More unfortunately for him, it’s also definitely nowhere close to being true.
Here is a brief, incomplete list of openly gay/queer Oscar winners: composer John Corigliano; Stephen Sondheim; lyricist Howard Ashman; writer Bill Condon; director/writer Alan Ball; producer Scott Rudin; musician Melissa Etheridge; and Jodie Foster. This list is in no way meant to be comprehensive, but is instead meant to showcase that, yeah, Sam Smith really should’ve checked his facts before making a statement in front of millions of people.
But Smith’s ignorance is highlighted best by a tweet from Dustin Lance Black, an openly gay man who won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009. Also, for reference, he’s engaged to olympiad swimmer Tom Daley.
I wonder what he could be texting him? Maybe song lyrics? Probably song lyrics. Unfortunately, none of the other gay Oscar winners seem to care to participate in Twitter culture, so no further shade was found. And oh, what shade there could have been.