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. I stand here tonight as a proud gay man, and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day.
The sentiment is nice, but Smith, who won Best Original Song for Spectre track "Writing's on the Wall" alongside co-writer Jimmy Napes, probably should've fact-checked his acceptance speech.
First off, Ian McKellen never wrote an article about how no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar; Smith's probably referencing this Guardian interview from January where the two-time Academy Award nominee bemoaned the fact that "no openly gay [male actor] has ever won the Oscar." Joel Grey won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1973, but the Cabaret star did not come out publicly until 2015.
My other point of contention is a little more subjective. But if Sam is really intent on being a "spokesperson for the LGBT community," then I wish he'd have done a little research and used his platform to call attention to something more concrete than just everyone "being equals one day."
Watched by millions, the Academy Awards would have been an excellent time to signal-boost a specific issue like the need for nondiscrimination legislation that covers sexual orientation and gender identity. I know the "Stay With Me" singer isn't American and probably couldn't find South Dakota on a map, but he could've called out the state's super transphobic bathroom bill that's a signature away from becoming law. He could've even brought up the fact that Anohni, fellow Oscar nominee in the Best Original Song category—the second openly trans nominee after composer Angela Morley—wasn't even asked to perform during the broadcast.
Anyway, here's a quick rundown of at least some of the openly gay men (and one openly gay woman) who have taken home those coveted golden statues in the past.
1. Dustin Lance Black
Dustin Lance Black won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Milk at the 81st Academy Awards in 2009. But don't take my word for it!
2. Melissa Etheridge
The queen of acoustic window beckonings took home Best Original Song for "I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth at the 79th Academy Awards in 2007.
3. Alan Ball
Alan Ball nabbed Best Original Screenplay for American Beauty at the 72st Academy Awards in 2000.
4. Bill Condon
Bill Condon took home Best Adapted Screenplay for Gods and Monsters at the 71st Academy Awards in 1999.
5. Elton John
Yes. It's true. Elton John is gay. And he won Best Original Song (along with lyricist Tim Rice) for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King at the 67th Academy Awards in 1995.
6. Stephen Sondheim
The Broadway legend took home Best Original Song for Madonna's "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy at the 63rd Academy Awards in 1991. I know you've only been a Madonna fan for like a year, Sam, but c'mon!
7. Howard Ashman
Howard Ashman won Best Original Song (alongside composer Alan Menken) for "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid at the 62nd Academy Awards in 1990. Ashman died the following year due to AIDS-related complications.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.