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.

Matt Lucas was born on this day

Actor and TV host Matt Lucas was born on this day in 1974.

Lucas first came to prominence alongside comedian Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer appearing on several of their shows as George Dawes, a man sized baby who played the drums. He occasionally appeared as the character’s grandmother Marjory Dawes, a character that he would return to later in his career.

Alongside friend David Walliams, the created the spoof TV series Rock Profile where they would portray well known musicians being interviewed. Among the musicians they sent up were ABBA, Geri Halliwell, Elton John, Steps and many others.

The duo’s biggest success began with a radio show, Little Britain which was later turned into a television series. The show included Lucas playing many memorable characters including Marjory Dawes, Andy Pipkin, Vicky Pollard and Daffyd Thomas, who claims to be the only gay in the village. While the show was massively popular, Lucas later acknowledge criticism that it’s humour focused on minority groups and the comedians inappropriately performed in ‘blackface’ and ‘yellowface’.

Walliams and Lucas would later create a whole new set of characters for their show Come Fly With Me, but it was not as popular as Little Britain. 

Lucas has appeared in a wide variety of television series and films including Casanova  alongside David Tennant, he played companion Nardole on Doctor Who, made a memorable appearance in the film Bridesmaids and has taken to the stage in West End musicals including Taboo, Les Miserable, and Me and My Girl.

Matt Lucas currently hosts The Great British Bake-Off alongside Noel Fielding.

OIP Staff, This post was first published in 2021 and has been updated. 


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