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Updated on Aug 31, 2020. Posted on Feb 29, 2016

Dear Sam Smith, Other Openly Gay People Have Won An Oscar

But still, congratulations!

Sam Smith won an Oscar Sunday night!

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

For his song, "Writing's on the Wall" with Jimmy Napes.


Aaaand then he gave his speech, where he mentioned he might be the first openly gay man to win an Oscar:

Sam Smith has become the FIRST openly gay man to win an Oscar - such an important acceptance speech. 👬👭👫 #Oscars

But the problem is...other out LGBT people have won an Oscar.

In his speech, Sam referenced a quote from Sir Ian McKellan who told The Guardian, "No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance." But Ian was actually referring to the Best Actor category.


Elton John has won an Oscar.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

For "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King.

As has Stephen Sondheim.

Thos Robinson / Getty Images

For "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" from Dick Tracy.

Aaaaand Dustin Lance Black.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

He wrote Milk.

Oh, and Melissa Etheridge.

Larry Busacca / Getty Images

For "I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth.

Countless others — openly gay and not — have also won Oscars. Like Howard Ashman, Jodie Foster, Joel Grey, Linda Hunt...

Maybe next time, Sam?

UPDATE: Here's the moment Sam Smith found out he was actually wrong about being the first openly gay person to win an Oscar.

How did @samsmithworld react to finding out he wasn't the first openly gay winner? #Backstage #Oscars

In the press room he jokingly said "fuck that" at hearing the news, followed by "two is my lucky number, so it's all good."

Later, in an interview with Good Morning Britain, he said, "I think I am the second openly gay man to win it."

Additional reporting by Scott Bryan.

UPDATE: Ian McKellen has tweeted this.

I'd said no openly gay actor had received #Oscars-that doesn’t detract from @samsmithworld achievement. Congratulations to him & all others!

UPDATE: Sam Smith has responded to the controversy.

So hungover. genuinely feels like a dream

Second openly gay man to win an oscar or third or fourth or 100th, It wasn't my point.

My point was to shine some light on the LGBT community who i love so dearly.

Oh, and he has also responded to Dustin Lance Black calling him out.

Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé. Here's a start:

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.

Apologies for the mix up @DLanceBlack I'll be sure to check out your films now x Belated Congrats on the Oscar x

To which Dustin replied...

@samsmithworld Congratulations. Drink water. Rest. But do check out some of the other Gay Oscar work out there. Some truly wonderful stuff.

Well this has proven to be a lively day on Twitter. From humor to anger. The former my intent... in defense of history. Much love to all.

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