Sam Smith responds to critics over Oscars acceptance speech
HOLLYWOOD, USA – English singing sensation Sam Smith on Sunday, February 28 won an Oscar for his song from the latest James Bond film and dedicated the award to fellow gay people around the world.
The award is the latest for the fast-rising 23-year-old soul singer, who last year was the big winner at the music industry's Grammy Awards.
Smith won best original song at Hollywood's biggest night for "Writing's on the Wall," which was the theme to the spy thriller's 2015 installment Spectre.
However, Smith, in his speech, incorrectly stated that he was the first openly gay person to win an Oscar, apparently misreading remarks by British actor Ian McKellen on how straight people have repeatedly won the prize for portraying gay characters.
Jimmy Napes and SAM SMITH bring home the Oscar for Best Original Song! Watch this Music Moment Thx2 AT&T!Posted by ABC Television Network on Sunday, 28 February 2016
"If this is the case – even if it isn't the case – I wanna dedicate this to the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community around the world," Smith said as he accepted the golden statuette.
"I stand here tonight as a proud gay man and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day," he added.
Smith, informed later that he misspoke, responded with a profanity to wide laughter.
"I wanted to show how much I care about my community. In the past in my career, people said I didn't care. But I really do care about the LGBT community," Smith, who has been particularly outspoken on gay rights in Russia, told reporters.
According to Entertainment Tonight, when reporters mentioned Howard Ashman, an openly gay Oscar-winning lyricist, Smith seemed to not know who he was, saying, "I should know him. We should date," the singer answered.
Ashman died of complications from AIDS in 1991.
Later on Twitter, Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2009, said, "If you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé."
Black, whose fiancé is TV personality and Olympic diver Tom Daley, won an Oscar for Milk, a movie about gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk.
Black added that learning about about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) history is important.
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
The next day, Smith clarified, saying, "My point was to shine some light on the LGBT community who I love so dearly."
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
Smith also apologized to Black, saying that he'll check out some of his work.
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
@samsmithworld Congratulations. Drink water. Rest. But do check out some of the other Gay Oscar work out there. Some truly wonderful stuff.— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) February 29, 2016
The award comes on a year that the Oscars faced heavy criticism over the dearth of African Americans in the nominations.
Oscars host Chris Rock, an African American who peppered the Oscars with biting humor about race, quipped after Smith's acceptance speech: "Congratulations, no jokes there. Not going to get me in trouble."
Smith was selected to sing for Spectre after a theme written by British experimental rockers Radiohead did not make the cut for unclear reasons.
Smith sang his nominated song at the Oscars along with other contenders – Lady Gaga and The Weeknd.
Lady Gaga performed "Til It Happens to You" about campus sexual assault, turning the performance into a rally against rape with survivors holding arms and US Vice President Joe Biden offering an introduction.
Another nominee for best song – Anohni, best known for leading the dark choral group Antony and the Johnsons – boycotted the Oscars after she was not asked to sing. (READ: Anohni, first transgender performer nominated, shuns Oscars)
Anohni, who was born as Antony Hegarty, was the first transgender performer nominated for an Oscar and said she was overcome by "embarrassment and anger" at not being asked to perform her song "Manta Ray" from Racing Extinction, a documentary on humans' destruction of other species. – Rappler.com