Oscar Speeches: Smith, Sam–Winner of Original Song–Politically Charged Speech

oscars_2016_4_best_original_song_sam_smith_spectreSam Smith’s song “Writing’s On the Wall” from James Bond’s Spectre, won the best original song Oscar Sunday at the 88th show, upsetting Lady Gaga and songwriter Diane Warren’s anti-rape ballad, “Til It Happens To You,” from the documentary The Hunting Ground.

Smith, like other honorees, made a politically charged speech:  “I stand here as a proud, gay man and I hope one day we can all stand as equals,” Smith said.

He noted that he had been told he would be the first out gay man to ever win an Academy Award.

However, Smith was obviously unaware that Elton John won the best song Oscar for The Lion King, and that writer-director Bill Condon won the Best Screenplay for for Gods and Monsters, starring Ian McKellen.  Both Elton John and Bill Condon are among previous openly gay winners.

Warren was aiming for her first win after being nominated seven times before for songs ike “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from Mannequin, “How Do I Live” from Con Air and “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” from Armageddon.

Second Song to Win for James Bond Picture

“Writing’s On the Wall” is the second Bond theme in a row to win the prize. Adele’s “Skyfall” title track won in that category three years ago.

The show’s rundown cast a pall over the category this year. Officially owed to “time constraints,” the move nevertheless felt like favoritism afforded to bigger acts like Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and the Weeknd and a dismissal of lesser-known ones like Sumi Jo (“Simple Song #3”) and Anohni (“Manta Ray”).

Anohni as transgender artist

Anohni’s exclusion from the show was inconsistent with the Academy’s urge to correct perceptions of lacking diversity, ultimately leading to boycotting the ceremony.