In a shocking win, the James Bond title song from Spectre, “Writing’s On the Wall” by Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes, took the best original song Oscar tonight. It’s the second time time that a 007 song has broken through at the Oscars, after “Skyfall” three years ago became the first Bond song to win. That title theme was written by Adele and Paul Epworth.
In his acceptance speech onstage, Smith said: “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. And 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. I stand here tonight as a proud gay man, and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day.”
When Smith came back to the press room, a member of the media called him out, saying he wasn’t the first openly gay man to win the Oscar. He playfully responded with a slew of expletives before saying “Two is my lucky number.” Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, has been at the forefront of LGBT rights for over a decade. Smith explained that the reason for the dedication was because “in the past in the beginning of my career, people said I didn’t [bring up LGBT issues], and I wanted to make it clear how much I truly do care.”
There was an uproar throughout the press room after the Original Song win was announced; it came on the heels of Lady Gaga’s emotionally charged performance of her anthem “Til It Happens to You” from the Radius doc The Hunting Ground, which Gaga co-wrote with eight-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren. That was such a high point during the Oscarcast that Vice President Joe Biden even introduced the song, asking TV viewers and the Dolby Theatre crowd to take the pledge to “change the culture” on campus sexual assault.
Indeed, the writing was truly on the wall: Smith and Napes already won best song at the Golden Globes. “Writing’s on the Wall” was greeted with mixed reception from critics. Some industry insiders even snarked that the reason why Sony/MGM’s Spectre didn’t do as well as Skyfall at the box office was because it didn’t have a 007 theme you could hum.
Other songs that “Writing’s on the Wall” beat tonight: The Weeknd’s “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey, “Manta Ray” by J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty from Racing Extinction and “Simple Song #3” by David Lang from Youth.