Brokeback Mountain (2005) earned eight Oscar nominations (and three wins, although it lost Best Picture to Crash), including nods for Heath Ledger (Best Actor) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Best Supporting Actor) in the romantic drama. Notably at the Academy Awards ceremony, Gyllenhaal appeared as a presenter while Ledger declined to do so. Or at least, he declined to do so according to Jake Gyllenhall, who opened up for the first time on the subject while speaking with Another Man magazine.
The topic arise when Brokeback Mountain came up, specifically about how some old TV interviews about “gay cowboys” appeared to be rather homophobic with jokes and banter. Gyllenhaal then brought up how Ledger was bothered by that perception of the film, and he put his foot down with the Academy, which wanted to play up the humorous feel during the show’s opening. Here’s what Gyllenhaal said:
“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it,” he says. “And Heath refused. I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, okay… whatever.’ I’m always like: it’s all in good fun. And Heath said, ‘It’s not a joke to me – I don’t want to make any jokes about it.’” I say how smart of Ledger that seems, in retrospect. “Absolutely,” says Gyllenhaal.
Ledger obviously went on to earn more awards acclaim by winning a posthumous award for portraying the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight, and his legacy shall continue. The above instance can only build upon that legacy with Ledger standing firm and saying plenty by refraining from (publically) saying anything at all about a planned Oscars opening number that would not have gone well.
(Via Another Man)