Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith; ABC/Rick PowellAfter Lady Gaga got a standing ovation for her powerful performance of “Til It Happens to You” on last night’s Academy Awards, many assumed she’d be a shoo-in to win the Best Original Song Oscar, along with Diane Warren, who co-wrote the song.  So it was quite a shock when Sam Smith ended up the winner for “Writing’s on the Wall,” the theme from the James Bond movie SPECTRE.  But Sam turned his acceptance speech into a powerful moment in itself.

“I read an article a few months ago by Sir Ian McKellan and he said that no openly gay man has ever won an Oscar,” Sam said at the podium. “If this is the case, or even if it isn’t the case, I wanna dedicate this to the LGBT community, all around the world.”  As the audience cheered, Sam added, “I stand here tonight as a proud gay man and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day.”

Just like his countrywoman Adele, Sam is now halfway to an EGOT: he now has an Oscar and several Grammys.  He just needs an Emmy and a Tony to complete the set.  Adele and Sam have now both won Golden Globes and Oscars for James Bond themes.  Unlike Adele’s “Skyfall,” however, “Writing’s on the Wall” was not a hit in the U.S., though it reached #1 in the U.K.

Sam is not, in fact, the first openly gay man to win an Oscar — Elton John and Stephen Sondheim have both won in the Best Original Song category, for example, as has Melissa Etheridge, an openly gay woman.  In addition, Dustin Lance Black won the 2009 Best Original Screenplay award for Milk.  Apparently, McKellan’s comments referred specifically to the acting categories.

As for Gaga, her performance was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden, who urged everyone to “take the pledge” that is on the “It’s On Us” website, set up by the White House to prevent campus sexual assault.  The song “Til It Happens to You” appears in the documentary The Hunting Ground, which is about that topic. That pledge is “a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault,” and a “promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution.”  

“We must and we can change the culture,” Biden said, “So that no abused woman or man like the survivors here tonight ever have to ask themselves, ‘What did I do?’”  To hammer the point home, Gaga was joined onstage by sexual abuse survivors, who sported words written on their arms such as “Survivor,” “Unbreakable” and “Not Your Fault.”  It was Gaga’s second standing ovation at the Oscars in a row: last year, she received one for her Sound of Music medley.

Gaga later posted a photo of herself kissing her fiance, Taylor Kinney, on Facebook, and wrote, “I never thought anyone would ever love me because I felt like my body was ruined by my abuser. But he loves the survivor in me. He’s stood by me all night proud and unashamedly. THATS a real man.”

In addition to Sam and Gaga, the other performance in the Best Original Song category came from The Weeknd, who performed his nominated song “Earned It,” from Fifty Shades of Grey.  As he sang, a female aerialist performed tricks hanging from the ceiling, and sexy dancers surrounded him.  The other two nominated songs were not performed on the telecast.

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl also performed: he sang The Beatles’ “Blackbird” during the “In Memoriam” segment.

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Source: Mix News