On This Gay Day: Ang Lee wins an Oscar for ‘Brokeback Mountain’

In 2006 Ang Lee won the Best Director Oscar for his work on ‘Brokeback Mountain’

On this day in 2006 Taiwanese director Ang Lee won the Best Director statue at the Academy Awards for his work on the film Brokeback Mountain

The love story about two cowboys spending time together tending cattle and their subsequent lives won three awards on the night. Alongside Lee’s gong for directing, it also picked up the Best Original Score gong for Gustavo Santaoalla’s music and the Best Adapted Screenplay award for writing team Larry McMurty and¬† Diana Ossana.

The film had been nominated for 8 awards including Best Picture, Best Actor for Heath Ledger, Best Supporting Actor by Jake Gyllenhaal, Best Supporting Actress for Michelle Williams and Best Cinematography for Rodrigo Rodrigo Prieto.

The film is based on a short story by author E. Annie Proulx which was published in 1997. Several directors attempted to bring the story to the screen before it came to Ang Lee.

Originally Gus Van Sant was attached to the project, he hoped to cast Matt Damon in the role of Ennis Del Mar, and Joaquin Phoenix as Jack Twist. Matt Damon famously told Sant, that he’d just done a gay movie (The Talented Mr Ripley) and a cowboy movie (All The Pretty Horses), so there was no way he could do a gay cowboy movie.

When the film came out in late 2005 it was huge commercial and critical success. The film sparked discussion about whether the characters should be described as straight, gay or bisexual. In an interview with Details magazine Gyllenhaal said he considered the characters to be two straight men who fell in love.

In 2018 the film was added to the US Library of Congress as a film that had been deemed as a culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Several years after the film came out the author E. Annie Proulx said she regretted writing the story because people keep sending her fan-fiction with alternative endings, imaginary sequels and alternative plotlines.

OIP Staff

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