Atlanta Music Scene

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Sam Smith pulls off Oscars upset with James Bond theme

Perhaps as big a surprise as the Sylvester Stallone snub for his performance in "Creed" was Lady Gaga and Diane Warren getting eclipsed by possibly the worst James Bond theme in history.

Sam Smith's "Writing's on the Wall" from "Spectre" nabbed the Oscar for Best Original Song despite the attention given to the superior Gaga/Warren ballad, "Til It Happens To You" from"The Hunting Ground."

Although his Sunday night performance of "Writing" was sub-par and unusually off-key, Smith, who co-wrote the song with Jimmy Napes, presented an eloquent acceptance speech, dedicating his award to the LGBT community.

"I stand here tonight as a proud gay man and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day," Smith said.

Lady Gaga’s performance was prefaced by an appearance from Vice President Joe Biden, who urged viewers to visit the website .

“Let’s change the culture. We must and we can change the culture so that no abused woman or man ever feels they have to ask themselves, ‘What did I do?’ They. Did. Nothing. Wrong.”

Gaga continued his emphatic words with her own as, seated behind a white grand piano, she clenched her teeth and presented a gripping rendition of “Til It Happens to You,” the searing ballad she wrote with Warren.

Backed by a string orchestra, Gaga pointed in fury, yet still controlled her voice even when she shrieked passionately as a group of young people – representatives of victims of sexual abuse – came out of the shadows, with words including “Survivor” inked on their arms.

The Smith ballad defeated, among others, a  song from The Weeknd. 

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on

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