Sam Smith Responds to Criticism over Claim to Be the "First Openly Gay Man to Win an Oscar"
Smith appeared on stage to accept the trophy, and while he seemed genuinely humbled and well-intentioned as he dedicated the win to the LGBT community, some factual errors in his speech didn't sit so well with some.
He cited an article written by Sir Ian McKellen, claiming that no openly gay man had won an Oscar, then proudly bestowed the honour of being the first to do so upon himself. The only problem? He's definitely not the first openly gay man to win an Oscar.
Sir John Gielgud was the first openly gay actor to win an Oscar, taking home the prize for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 1981's Arthur. Another notable win came from Elton John when he picked up the prize for Best Original Song for his 1995 The Lion King contribution "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"
Not feeling the love last night was screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (another openly gay man) who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Milk in 2009 and made a memorable, powerful speech championing gay rights at that year's ceremony. He reached out to Smith via Twitter to remind him of the previous win.
He followed it up with another clarifying tweet:
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 Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) February 29, 2016
Now, Smith has joined the discussion, apologizing to Black and emphasizing the meaning behind his message.
Second openly gay man to win an oscar or third or fourth or 100th, It wasn't my point.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) February 29, 2016
My point was to shine some light on the LGBT community who i love so dearly.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) February 29, 2016
Apologies for the mix up @DLanceBlack I'll be sure to check out your films now x Belated Congrats on the Oscar x— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) February 29, 2016
While Smith returns to nursing his celebratory hangover, McKellen has also pitched in, owning up to his mixed-up facts and sending his congratulations to Smith on the win.
Watch footage of Smith's speech in the player below.