Is Sam Smith the First Openly Gay Man to Win an Oscar? Not Exactly
Elton John and Melissa Etheridge are among the openly gay stars who nabbed Oscars
“I read an article a few months ago by Sir Ian McKellen, and he said that no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar,” said Smith, 23, who won Best Original Song thanks to his hit “Writing’s on the Wall” from the latest James Bond film, Spectre.
Smith continued: “If this is the case – even if it isn’t the case – I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world.”
Although there aren’t any openly gay male acting winners in Academy Awards history, Smith is far from the first gay man to nab an Oscar. Read on for a look at some of the out-and-proud victors – so far.
In 1994, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from Disney’s The Lion King earned the crooner a Best Original Song trophy.
Dustin Lance Black
Milk, the 2008 film in which Sean Penn tells the story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, thrust the screenwriter into the spotlight. Black won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2009.
The composer and lyricist has won everything from a Tony to a Pulitzer Prize, and he added an Oscar to list in 1991 when “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” – which Madonna sang in Dick Tacy – won Best Original Song.
The director and writer behind Dreamgirls scored a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar with Gods and Monsters in 1999.
American Beauty, one of Ball’s masterpieces, won Best Original Screenplay at the 2000 Oscars.
Grey wowed Oscar as the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret – he won Best Supporting Actor in 1972 – but the Broadway legend didn’t publicly come out of the closet until 2015. He told PEOPLE, “All the people close to me have known for years who I am. [Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.”
Bonus: Melissa Etheridge
While she is certainly not a man, the raspy rocker lent her voice to former Vice President Al Gore’s climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. Then she received the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “I Need to Wake Up” in 2007.