Breaking down the Sam Smith Oscars drama

Dustin Lance Black Calls Out Sam Smith After Oscars Speech
Dustin Lance Black Calls Out Sam Smith After Oscars Speech

It's no secret that British singer Sam Smith caused quite a stir at Sunday's Oscars, even if he had no intention of ruffling any feathers.

The controversy began when Common and John Legend read out his and collaborator Jimmy Napes' names as the winners of Best Original Song, upsetting heavy favorites Lady Gaga and Diane Warren. The "Writing's On The Wall" (from the latest James Bond film "Spectre") writers took the stage at the 88th annual Academy Awards to paltry applause from a shocked audience.

SEE ALSO: Sam Smith jokes he 'should date' dead Oscar winner

Lady Gaga had just brought the entire Dolby Theatre to tears with a stirring, emotional performance of "Til It Happens To You," the song she wrote with Warren for "The Hunting Ground," a documentary that explores sexual assault on college campuses. The performance featured dozens of sexual assault survivors.

So it's safe to say that Smith's win wasn't exactly a welcomed surprise. Especially for a song that was, really, not that well received by critics. Let's just say "Writing's On The Wall" is no "Skyfall."

"I read an article a few months ago, by Sir Ian McKellen," Smith said in his acceptance speech. "He said no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar, and if this is the case -- and even if it isn't the case -- I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world."

See photos of Lady Gaga's emotional Oscars performance:

Smith's claim of being the first openly gay male to win an Oscar was, by all accounts, wrong. Before 2016, there had been a handful of openly gay male Oscar winners: Elton John, Stephen Sondheim and Dustin Lance Black had all won Academy Awards as openly gay men.

Black, who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar eight years ago for "Milk," took particular offense to Smith's claims.

"Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé," Black wrote on Twitter, alluding to his Olympic diver fiancé, Tom Daly. He also included a link to his 2008 acceptance speech on YouTube.

Once Black's tweet was sent early Monday morning, it quickly went viral, prompting immediate backlash to Smith's claims and advocacy for the LGBT community. Many wondered how such a prominent pop culture figure could claim to represent a community whose history he knows so little about.

Then, the backlash continued.

In an excerpt released by the Associated Press, Smith was quoted as saying that he "should date" Howard Ashman, the first openly gay man to win the Oscar for Best Original Song. As AP notes, Ashman died of HIV complications in 1991.

"I should know him. We should date," Smith was quoted as saying.

Again, more backlash online. All of which happened as Smith had remained silent. That soon changed.

"So hungover," Smith said in his first tweet since the controversy. "Genuinely feels like a dream."

He followed up the seemingly trivial complaint by directly addressing the scandal he had caused.

"Second openly gay man to win an oscar or third or fourth or 100th, It wasn't my point," he explained. "My point was to shine some light on the LGBT community who I love so dearly. Apologies for the mix up @DLanceBlack I'll be sure to check out your films now x Belated Congrats on the Oscar x"

Many on Twitter took the half-hearted apology with a grain of salt, noting that they weren't sure if Smith truly grasped or understood the damage and offense he had caused. He didn't even address the Ashman comments.

Though Smith should be commended for apologizing (albeit somewhat meekly), it hard not to think that the damage had already been done.

More updates will be added here as the saga continues.

See more moments from inside the 2016 Academy Awards:

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