Monday, February 29, 2016

Sam Smith not quite the first; finds ways to make it worst

Sam Smith won an Oscar last night, and managed to turn his moment of triumph into a massive car crash.

If you or I won a prize for such a terrible record, we might just pick up the statue and leave the auditorium before anyone noticed.

But Sam had to declare how special he was:

As the 23-year-old singer collected his Oscar for best original song for "Writing’s on the Wall" from Spectre at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, he mistakenly dubbed himself the first openly gay man to win an Oscar.
He based this claim on something he thought Ian McKellen had said:
“I read an article a few months ago by Sir Ian McKellen and he said no openly gay man had won an Oscar,” Smith said.

“If this is the case, 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.”
If you or I were going to go on TV in front of millions and make a bold statement like that, we might have wanted to double check the quote we were half-remembering. It's 2016; you can get a waffle that connects to the internet and allows you to fact check.

Hang on, I've just checked that. It's not true, I meant "phone".

But I was able to check that before I made a massive claim of that nature.

Ian McKellen was, as you'd imagine, lovely about the whole thing:
McKellen, however, doesn't seem to care that he had been misquoted - and was more keen that Smith gets some recognition for winning an Oscar.

He tweeted: "I'd said no openly gay actor had received #Oscars-that doesn’t detract from @samsmithworld achievement. Congratulations to him & all others!"
It kind of does detract, though.

Amongst people pointing out his mistake was Dustin Lance Black, who won for Best Original Screenplay. For Milk. (Winning an Oscar as a gay man, for a film about a gay man; a gay man who did a little more for the cause than singing a James Bond theme toon.)

He wasn't just scoring points, either:
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.
Well, yes - especially if you're stood on a stage at an Oscars which has all been about representation, and are going to make a claim like that.

Could Smith make matters worse?

Well, yes, he could:
Smith was eventually informed backstage that he actually isn't the first openly gay person to win an Oscar. The list of winners also includes Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, filmmaker Bill Condon, Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, and lyricist Howard Ashman, who won two Best Original Song awards for his legendary work with Disney.

When a reporter mentioned that Ashman had previously won, Smith did not recognize the name.

"I should know him. We should date," Smith quipped, seemingly unaware that Ashman died from complications from AIDS in 1991.
There's part of me that is impressed that, having been backed into a corner and been told he doesn't know what he's talking about, Smith decided to try and jape his way out of it. "I clearly have no idea who these people are, so I'm going to make a joke", thereby saying he should be dating someone who died before he was even born.

Well done, Sam. Well done.