Is Sam Smith the First Openly Gay Man to Win an Oscar? Not Exactly

Oscars 2016: Sam Smith Joins List of Gay Academy Award Winners
Sam Smith
Christopher Polk/Getty

02/29/2016 AT 01:10 AM EST

At the Oscars Sunday, Sam Smith followed up his moving performance with an even more emotional acceptance speech.

"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," said Smith, 23, who won Best Original Song thanks to his hit "Writing's on the Wall" from the latest James Bond film, Spectre.

Smith continued: "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."

Although there aren't any openly gay male acting winners in Academy Awards history, Smith is far from the first gay man to nab an Oscar. Read on for a look at some of the out-and-proud victors – so far.





Elton John

In 1994, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from Disney's The Lion King earned the crooner a Best Original Song trophy.

Dustin Lance Black

Milk, the 2008 film in which Sean Penn tells the story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, thrust the screenwriter into the spotlight. Black won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2009.



Stephen Sondheim

The composer and lyricist has won everything from a Tony to a Pulitzer Prize, and he added an Oscar to list in 1991 when "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" – which Madonna sang in Dick Tacy – won Best Original Song.

Check out PEOPLE's full Academy Awards 2016 coverage and complete winners list!

Bill Condon

The director and writer behind Dreamgirls scored a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar with Gods and Monsters in 1999.

Alan Ball

American Beauty, one of Ball's masterpieces, won Best Original Screenplay at the 2000 Oscars.

Joel Grey

Grey wowed Oscar as the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret – he won Best Supporting Actor in 1972 – but the Broadway legend didn't publicly come out of the closet until 2015. He told PEOPLE, "All the people close to me have known for years who I am. [Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was."

Bonus: Melissa Etheridge

While she is certainly not a man, the raspy rocker lent her voice to former Vice President Al Gore's climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. Then she received the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "I Need to Wake Up" in 2007.
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