Sir Ian McKellen has responded to Sam Smith’s claim to be the first openly gay man to win an Academy Award.
The openly gay singer picked up the ‘Best Original Song’ gong at last night’s Oscars for Bond theme Writing on The Wall – but made an awkward flub in his speech.
Smith said: “I read an article a few months ago by Sir Ian McKellan and he said that no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar.
“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.”
Many have picked up on the surreal claim – given Elton John, Dustin Lance Black and Stephen Sondheim are among those honoured previously.
After finding himself blamed for the gaffe, Sir Ian McKellen has now taken to Twitter to respond to Smith’s attribution of the quote to him.
He clarified : “I’d said no openly gay actor had received Oscars – that doesn’t detract from Sam Smith’s achievement. Congratulations to him & all others!”
McKellen had originally been speaking about the Best Actor Award when he said: “No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar. I wonder if that is prejudice or chance.”
It comes amid a backlash against Smith from other prominent gay figures, who have taken issue with some of the singer’s actions.
Clean Bandit violinist Neil Neil Amin-Smith hit out at “Sam Smith talking cr*p again”, claiming that “Writing on the Wall is just a flaccid copy of Earth Song, before praising Dustin Lance Black’s “beautiful” work on Oscar-wining biopic Milk.
He also posted a “monstrous” quote from Smith, who claimed in a 2014 interview that gay people shouldn’t “make their sexuality an issue” – and should just “act equal” in order to gain acceptance.
Meanwhile, Dustin Lance Black himself decided to take aim at Smith too – awkwardly telling the singer to stop trying to contact his fiancé, diver Tom Daley.
Black wrote: “Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé.”
“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.”