“I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community around the world. I stand here tonight as a proud gay man and I hope that we can all stand as equals one day.”
— Sam Smith, accepting the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Smith’s “Writing’s On The Wall,” from the James Bond movie Spectre, beat out four other nominated songs, including work by Lady Gaga (“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground) and transgender artist Anohni (“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction).
During his speech, Smith wondered if he was the first openly gay man to ever win an Academy Award. He wasn’t sure — and he wasn’t right. Several openly gay men have won Oscars, including Elton John, who took one home for his work on The Lion King in 1995.
While Smith and Gaga both performed their songs live on the show, Anohni was cut from the list of performers. Event organizers faulted time constraints, but Anohni blames the Academy for allegedly only staging performances by singers who are commercially viable, which is why she boycotted the awards.
“Everyone told me that I still ought to attend, that a walk down the red carpet would still be ‘good for my career’…. I tried to force myself to get on the plane to fly to L.A. for all the nominee events, but the feelings of embarrassment and anger knocked me back, and I couldn’t get on the plane,” Anohni wrote on Pitchfork.
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