If only the writing had been on the wall telling Sam Smith that he was not the first openly gay Oscar Winner, he may not have discussed potentially being the first openly gay Oscar Winner in his acceptance speech for Spectre’s “Writing’s on the Wall.” (Incidentally, the writing was on the proverbial wall for Oscar Winners’ thank yous, so perhaps next year they’ll also include milestones not to claim as one’s own). Today, Smith has responded to…responses to his somewhat clumsy acceptance. In the meantime, more news has broken about another gaffe he made following the original last night.
First things first. During his speech, as Flavorwire reported earlier, Smith pointed out that Ian McKellan had said in The Guardian that no openly gay man had won the Oscar. But McKellan was actually talking strictly about the Best Lead Performance by an Actor Oscar. Smith, not realizing that, had said, “if this is the case — and even if it isn’t the case — I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world.” Today one previous openly gay winner (among a few) expressed a bit of frustration about the oversight — Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter of Milk. Now, Smith has responded to Black:
Entertainment Tonight, meanwhile, reports that Smith had been informed, after the speech, by a reporter backstage that celebrated Disney lyricist Howard Ashman had actually won the Oscar twice — while being openly gay! Sam Smith allegedly joked that they “should date,” seemingly not knowing that Ashman died in 1991.
Obviously one isn’t expected to know about the lives and deaths of all other Oscar winners, but if you’re going to make a precedent-setting speech, doing research into whether or not you’re actually setting a precedent — and into who may have actually done it — is of course recommended. Offensive? Not really. Proof of the self-congratulatory superficiality of the Oscars? Perhaps a bit.