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.
In doing so, he incorrectly referenced a quote by McKellen from a previous Guardian interview about homophobia within the film industry: “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.”
Oscars 2016 winners
Oscars 2016 winners
1/24 Leonardo DiCaprio
Oscar for Best Actor: "The Revenant"
2/24 Brie Larson
Oscar for Best Actress: "Room"
2016 Getty Images
3/24 Mark Rylance
Oscar for Best Supporting Actor: "Bridge of Spies"
4/24 Alicia Vikander
Oscar for Best Supporting Actress: "The Danish Girl"
5/24 Alejandro González Iñárritu
Oscar for Best Director: "The Revenant"
6/24 Emmanuel Lubezki
Oscar for Best Cinematography: "The Renevant"
7/24 Mark Mangini (L) and David White
Oscar for Best Sound Editing: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
8/24 Margaret Sixel
Oscar for Best Editing: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
9/24 Lesley Vanderwalt (R), Elka Wardega (C) and Damian Martin
Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
10/24 Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson
Oscar for Best Production Design: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
11/24 Jenny Beavan
Oscar for Best Costume Design: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
12/24 Tom McCarthy (L) and Josh Singer
Oscar for Best Original Screenplay: "Spotlight"
13/24 Adam McKay (L) and Charles Randolph
Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay: "The Big Short"
14/24 (L-R) Steve Golin, Blye Pagon Faust, Nicole Rocklin, and Michael Sugar
Oscar for Best Picture: "Spotlight"
15/24 Jimmy Napes (L) and Sam Smith
Oscar for Best Original Song: 'Writing's On The Wall' - "Spectre"
16/24 Ennio Morricone
Oscar for Best Original Score: "The Hateful Eight"
17/24 Laszlo Nemes
Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film: "Son of Saul"
18/24 Shawn Christopher Ogilvy (L) and Benjamin Cleary
Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film: "Stutterer"
19/24 James Gay-Rees (L) and Asif Kapadia
Oscar for Best Documentary Feature: "Amy"
20/24 Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject: "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness"
21/24 Pete Docter (R) and Jonas Rivera
Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film: "Inside Out"
22/24 Director Gabriel Osorio Vargas (L) and producer Pato Escala Pierart
Oscar for Best Animated Short Film: "Bear Story"
23/24 Andrew Whitehurst (R), Paul Norris (2nd L), Mark Ardington (L) and Sara Bennett
Oscar for Best Visual Effects: "Ex Machina"
24/24 Chris Jenkins (R), Gregg Rudolf (C) and Ben Oslo
Oscar for Sound Mixing: "Mad Max: Fury Road"
Unfortunately for Smith, he had misquoted Sir McKellen, who in fact had said no openly gay man had won a best actor Oscar.
The slip saw Smith widely castigated, with the openly gay director Dustin Lance Black, who is the partner of British diving champion Tom Daley, tweeting the singer to make him aware of his mistake.
He wrote: "Hey @SamSmithWorld, If you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé".
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!"Reuse content