Trivia: Name every openly gay actor who won an Academy Award and was out at the time of his/her nomination. To ease the overwhelm of the question, I'll give a hint: The number is under ten. 

The answer: With the exception of Linda Hunt, who has been out since the 1980s, and Angelina Jolie, who sometimes referred to her bisexuality in interviews before her win in 2000, there have been zero other LGBT actors who were out at the time of their win. 

Ian McKellen just referred to this statistic in a new interview with Sky News. He says that both times he was nominated for an Oscar, he planned a speech acknowledging his sexual orientation.


"No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance," he said, while pointing out that several straight actors – like Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman – have won the award for portraying gay characters.

"How clever, how clever," McKellen mused. "What about giving me one for playing a straight man?" 

For each of his nominations, the actor revealed he had speeches prepared that began, "'I'm proud to be the first openly gay man to win the Oscar,''" he said. "I've had to put it back in my pocket twice."


There've been a few actors who've come out of the closet since winning an Oscar. Joel Grey, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Cabaret, came out last year. Two-time winner Jodie Foster gave a quasi-revealing speech at the Golden Globes in 2013. 

There have been several out musical performers who've picked up the Best Original Song trophy. Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, and Stephen Sondheim are just a few. But for a ceremony that consistently rewards straight actors for taking on LGBT roles (Jared Leto, Sean Penn, even Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona), it's a little strange that out actors have never been rewarded for bringing their chops to the silver screen.