Graham Moore, the winner of this year’s Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, has clarified that he’s not gay following his emotional “stay weird” acceptance speech.
Moore, 33, wrote the acclaimed The Imitation Game, about persecuted gay World War II genius Alan Turning. In his speech on Sunday night, he said:
“Here’s the thing. Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces. I do… In this brief time here, what I want to use it to do is to say this: When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now, I’m standing here and I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere: Yes, you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird, stay different. And then, when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”
Many assumed that Moore was suggesting that he is gay and that his speech addressed the plight of bullied LGBT youth.
The writer, however, confirmed on Monday that he’s not gay and that his personal struggle as a teen was with depression.
He told BuzzFeed News: “I’m not gay, but I’ve never talked publicly about depression before or any of that, and that was so much of what the movie was about, and it was one of the things that drew me to Alan Turing so much. I think we all feel like weirdos for different reasons. Alan had his share of them and I had my own, and that’s what always moved me so much about his story.”
While the speech was nevertheless generally praised for its “it gets better” message, and the hashtag “#stayweird” went viral, Slate’s J. Bryan Lowder was less than impressed.
He was critical of “Graham’s implied comparison between the experience of being gay in a still largely homophobic society (liberal Hollywood award shows notwithstanding) and standard teenage disaffection.”
Lowder wrote that, “Put differently: Being a straight weirdo is, on balance, just not as totalizing or stressful a situation as being a gay person.”
Writer Kevin Joffré also tweeted: “Being gay means more than ‘being weird.’ It means living as if you owe people an explanation for your feelings and your life. Your loved ones can be the biggest burdens in your life. You can be actively otherized every day of your life. That’s what being gay means.”