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Heath Ledger Turned Down Oscar Gig Over Brokeback Mountain Gay Jokes

Heath Ledger Turned Down Oscar Gig Over 'Brokeback Mountain' Gay Jokes

Heath Ledger Turned Down Oscar Gig Over 'Brokeback Mountain' Gay Jokes

The acting legend refused to present at the 2006 Academy Awards because of jokes being made at the expense of the iconic, gay romance film.

byraffy

If there's one thing the late, great, Oscar-winning acting legend Heath Ledger wasn't a fan of, it was offensive jokes made at the expense of Ang Lee's critically-acclaimed gay romance drama Brokeback Mountain

In fact, during a recent interview with Another Man, Ledger's Brokeback co-star and fellow Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal revealed that he even turned down a chance to present at the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony over it. 

“I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it and Heath refused," the Spider-Man: Far From Home actor told the magazine. "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.'"

According to ScreenRant, during host Jon Stewart's opening monologue, comedians Billy Crystal and Chris Rock parodied the movie's now-iconic tent scene. 

Like our friends at Out point out, Ledger (who passed away in 2008) was incredibly protective of the film (which earned Ang Lee his history-making Best Director Oscar) during his lifetime. 

"I think it's a real shame," the Australian actor said during a press conference when asked about the possibility of some moviegoers finding Brokeback Mountain "disgusting for its gay themes. "I think it's immature, for one. I think it's an incredible shame that people go out of their way to voice their disgust or their negative opinions against the ways in which two people wish to love one another."

He continued:

"It doesn't really concern me. I think it's a shame, but I also feel like it will surprise people. It's obviously about two men in love, and it's obviously gay-themed, and it's very easily labeled. Unfortunately, people are very quick in life to label something that they're uncomfortable with. The pure fact of it is that it transcends a label. It's a story about two human beings, two souls that are in love. Get over the fact that it's two men. That's the point."

This is why we continue to love and admire, Heath! And why Brokeback Mountain will always have a special place in the hearts of so many LGBTQ+ film fans! 

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Raffy Ermac

Digital Director, Out.com

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel