Brokeback Mountain

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This article is about the motion picture. For the original short story, see Brokeback Mountain (short story).
Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback mountain.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ang Lee
Produced by James Schamus
Larry McMurtry
Diana Ossana
Screenplay by Larry McMurtry
Diana Ossana
Based on "Brokeback Mountain
by Annie Proulx
Starring Heath Ledger
Jake Gyllenhaal
Anne Hathaway
Michelle Williams
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinematography Rodrigo Prieto
Edited by Geraldine Peroni
Dylan Tichenor
Production
  company
River Road Entertainment
Good Machine
Distributed by Focus Features
Release date(s)
Running time 134 minutes
Country United States
Canada
Language English
Budget $14 million
Box office $178,062,759

Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American epic romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a film adaptation of the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx with the screenplay written by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, and Randy Quaid, and depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two men in the American West from 1963 to 1981.[1]

Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was honored with Best Picture and Best Director accolades from the British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America Awards, Critics' Choice Movie Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards among many other organizations and festivals.

Brokeback Mountain was nominated for eight Academy Awards, the most nominations at the 78th Academy Awards, where it won three: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score. The film was widely considered to be a front runner for the Academy Award for Best Picture, but lost to Crash.[2][3][4][5] Brokeback Mountain ranks 13th among the highest-grossing romance films of all time.[6]

Plot[edit]

In 1963, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are hired by Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) to herd his sheep through the summer in Wyoming. After a night of heavy drinking, Jack makes a sexual pass at Ennis, who is initially reluctant but eventually responds to Jack's advances. Though he informs Jack that it was a one-time incident, they develop a sexual and emotional relationship. Shortly after learning their summer together is being cut short, they briefly fight and each is bloodied.

After Jack and Ennis part ways, Ennis marries his longtime fiancée Alma Beers (Michelle Williams) and fathers two daughters. Jack returns the next summer, but Aguirre, who witnessed Jack and Ennis on the mountain, does not rehire him. Jack moves to Texas, where he meets, marries, and has a son with rodeo rider Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). After four years, Jack visits Ennis. Upon meeting, the two kiss passionately, which Alma accidentally witnesses. Jack broaches the subject of creating a life together on a small ranch, but Ennis, haunted by a childhood memory of the torture and murder of a man suspected of homosexual behavior, refuses. He is also unwilling to abandon his family. Ennis and Jack continue to meet for infrequent fishing trips.

The marriages of both men deteriorate. Alma and Ennis eventually divorce in 1975. Ennis sees his family regularly until Alma finally confronts him about her knowledge of the true nature of his relationship with Jack which incites a violent argument and causes Ennis to abandon his connections with Alma. Lureen abandons her rodeo days and becomes a businesswoman with her father and expects Jack to work in sales. Hearing about Ennis' divorce, Jack drives to Wyoming hoping they can live together, but Ennis refuses to move away from his children. Jack finds solace with male prostitutes in Mexico. Ennis meets and has a brief romantic relationship with a waitress, Cassie Cartwright (Linda Cardellini). Jack and Lureen meet and befriend another couple, Randall and Lashawn Malone, and it is implied that Jack and Randall begin an affair behind their wives' backs.

At the end of a fishing trip, Ennis attempts to push back their next meeting. An argument erupts over Jack's frustration at him and Ennis meeting infrequently, and Ennis blames Jack for being the cause of his own conflicted actions. Jack attempts to hold him and there is a brief struggle, but they end up locked in an embrace. A flashback of Ennis saying goodbye to Jack during their summer on Brokeback Mountain fades back to Jack watching Ennis drive away.

Some time later, a postcard Ennis sends to Jack is returned stamped "Deceased". In a brief telephone conversation, Lureen tells Ennis that Jack died when a tire he was changing exploded. While listening, Ennis imagines Jack being bludgeoned to death by a gang. Jack's actual fate is left "deliberately ambiguous".[7] Lureen tells Ennis that Jack wanted to have his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain, but she does not know where it is. Ennis travels to meet with Jack's mother and father (Roberta Maxwell and Peter McRobbie), where he offers to take Jack's ashes, but the father declines, preferring to have them interred in a family plot. In Jack's childhood bedroom, Ennis finds the bloodstained shirt he thought he lost on Brokeback Mountain, realizing that Jack kept it hanging with the bloodstained shirt Jack himself wore during that fight. Ennis holds them up to his face, breathing in their scent and silently weeping. Jack's mother allows him to keep the shirts.

Later, 19-year-old Alma Jr. (Kate Mara) arrives at her father's trailer with the news that she is engaged. She asks Ennis for his blessing and invites him to the wedding. Ennis asks her if her fiancé really loves her, and she answers that he does. After Alma's departure, Ennis goes to his closet. Hanging on a nail on the door are the shirts with a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked above. Now Jack's shirt is tucked inside of Ennis's. Ennis fastens the top button of Jack's shirt, and with tears in his eyes mutters, "Jack, I swear..." while straightening the postcard before closing the door and walking away.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Before Lee, Gus Van Sant attempted to turn Proulx's story into a film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Matt Damon. Damon told the director, "Gus, I did a gay movie (The Talented Mr. Ripley), then a cowboy movie (All the Pretty Horses). I can't follow it up with a gay-cowboy movie!"[8]

While the film is set in Wyoming, it was filmed almost entirely in the Canadian Rockies in southern Alberta.[9] The fictional "Brokeback Mountain" in the film, so named because the mountain has the same swayback curve as a brokeback horse or mule, which is swaybacked or sagging in the spine,[10] is actually a composite of Mount Lougheed south of the town of Canmore to Fortress and Moose Mountain in Kananaskis Country.[11] The campsites were filmed at Goat Creek, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Elbow Falls and Canyon Creek, also in Alberta. Other scenes were also filmed in Cowley, Fort Macleod,[12] and Calgary. The film was shot during the summer of 2004.[13]

Mark Wahlberg declined the starring role, saying he turned down the opportunity because he was "a little creeped out" by the homosexual themes and sex scene.[14]

Commercial success[edit]

Brokeback Mountain cost about US$14 million to produce, excluding its reported advertising budget of $5 million. According to interviews with the filmmakers, Focus Features was able to recoup its production costs early on by selling overseas rights to the film.

The film saw limited release in the United States on December 9, 2005 (in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), taking $547,425 in five theaters its first weekend.

Over the Christmas weekend, it posted the highest per-theater gross of any film and was considered a box office success not only in urban centers such as New York City and Los Angeles, but also in suburban theaters near Portland, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Atlanta. On January 6, 2006, the film expanded into 483 theaters, and on January 13, 2006, Focus Features, the film's distributor, opened Brokeback in nearly 700 North American cinemas as part of its ongoing expansion strategy for the film. On January 20, the film opened in 1,194 theaters in North America; it opened in 1,652 theaters on January 27 and in 2,089 theaters on February 3, its widest release.

Brokeback Mountain's theatrical run lasted for 133 days and grossed $83,043,761 in North America and $95,000,000 abroad, adding up to a worldwide gross of more than $178 million. It is the top-grossing release of Focus Features, ranks fifth among the highest-grossing westerns (since 1979) and eighth among the highest-grossing romantic dramas (1980 – present).

The film was released in London on December 30, 2005, in only one cinema, and was widely released in the rest of the United Kingdom on January 6, 2006. On January 11, Time Out London magazine reported that Brokeback was the number one film in the city, a position it held for three weeks.[15]

The film was released in France on January 18, 2006, in 155 cinemas (expanding into 258 cinemas in the second week and into 290 in the third week). In its first week of release, Brokeback Mountain was in third place at the French box office, with 277,000 people viewing the film, or an average of 1,787 people by cinema per week, the highest such figure for any film in France that week. One month later, it reached more than one million viewers (more than 1,250,000 on March 18), with still 168 cinemas (in the 10th week). Released in Italy on January 20, the film grossed more than 890,000 euros in only three days, and was the fourth highest-grossing film in the country in its first week of release.

Brokeback Mountain was released in Australia on January 26, 2006, where it landed in fourth place at the box office and earned an average per-screen gross three times higher than its nearest competitor during its first weekend despite being released in only 48 cinemas nationwide. Most of the Australian critics praised the film.[16] Brokeback was released in many other countries during the first three months of 2006.[17]

During its first week of release, Brokeback was in first place in Hong Kong's box office, with more than US$473,868 ($22,565 per cinema).[18]

Brokeback Mountain was the highest-grossing film in the U.S. from January 17 through January 19, 2006, perhaps due primarily to its wins at the Golden Globes on January 16. Indeed, the film was one of the top five highest-grossing films in the U.S. every day from January 17 until January 28, including over the weekend (when more people go to the films and big-budget films usually crowd out independent films from the top-grossing list) of January 20–22.[19] On January 28, the film fell out of the top five and into sixth place at the box office during that weekend before entering the top five again on January 30 and remaining there until February 10.

The film was released on January 20, 2006, in Taiwan, where director Ang Lee was born. It ran until April 20.

The pair of shirts from the film sold on eBay on February 20, 2006, for US$101,100.51.[20][21] The buyer, film historian and collector Tom Gregory, called the shirts "the ruby slippers of our time," and intends never to separate them.[22] The proceeds will benefit California children's charity Variety, which has long been associated with the film industry.[23]

The shirts (still entwined and on the original hanger) are currently on loan to the Autry National Center, where they are on display in the Autry's Imagination Gallery.[24] On December 11, 2010, in association with Focus Features, the Autry screened Brokeback Mountain to commemorate the film's fifth anniversary, followed by a staged reading based on the book Beyond Brokeback, written by Members of the Ultimate Brokeback Forum and adapted for the stage by author and producer Gregory Hinton. This program was presented as part of the Out West at the Autry series. Conceived by Hinton, consulting producer for the series, Out West at the Autry was inspired not only by the installation of the iconic Brokeback shirts but also by the permanent inclusion of the International Gay Rodeo Association's (IGRA) archives into the Autry Library (both facilitated by Hinton). The Autry National Center is the first major American museum to recognize the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to the American West.

Reception[edit]

Professional film critics have heaped praise on Brokeback Mountain.[25] The film won four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, and was nominated for seven, leading all other films in the 2005 awards. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, as well as the title Best Picture from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the Utah Film Critics Society, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs).

Brokeback Mountain received an 87% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compiled from 223 reviews, with the consensus that "a beautifully epic Western, Brokeback Mountain's gay love story is imbued with heartbreaking universality, helped by the moving performances of Ledger and Gyllenhaal."[25] It also received an 87 out of 100 score on Metacritic based on 41 reviews, indicating "Universal acclaim."[26] The film was given a "two thumbs up" rating by Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper, the former giving a four-star review in the Chicago Sun-Times. The film received positive reviews from Christianity Today.[27] Conservative radio host Michael Medved gave the film three and a half stars, stating that while the film's "agenda" is blatant, it is an artistic work.[28]

The film's significance has been attributed to its portrayal of a same-sex relationship without any reference to the history of the gay civil rights movement.[29] This emphasizes the tragic love story aspect, which leads many commentators to effectively compare Ennis and Jack's drama to classic and modern romances like Romeo and Juliet or Titanic, often using the term star-crossed lovers.[30][31][32] This link to classic romances is no coincidence; the poster for the film was inspired by that of James Cameron's Titanic, after Ang Lee's collaborator James Schamus looked at the posters of "the 50 most romantic movies ever made".[33]

There was also disagreement among reviewers, critics, and even the cast and crew as to whether the film's two protagonists were actually homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, or under no sexual label at all. Most often the film was referred to in the media as the "gay cowboy movie," but a number of reviewers wrote that Jack and Ennis were bisexual.[34][35][36] Sex researcher Fritz Klein also asserted his opinion that the film was "a nice film with two main characters who were bisexual", and further analyzed that Jack is more "toward the gay side of bisexuality" and Ennis is "a bit more toward the straight side of being bisexual".[37] In an article in American Sexuality Magazine, bisexuality-focused sex educator Amy Andre critiqued the media's avoidance of the use of the term bisexual in association with Brokeback Mountain:

Brokeback Mountain is a not a movie about gay people, and there are no gay people in it. There. I said it. Despite what you may have read in the many reviews that have come out about this new cowboy feature film, Brokeback Mountain is a bisexual picture. Why can't film reviewers say the word 'bisexual' when they see lead characters with sexual and romantic relationships with both men and women? I am unaware of a single review of Brokeback calling the leads what they are—a sad statement on the invisibility of bisexual experience and the level of biphobia in both the mainstream and gay media.[38]

Gyllenhaal himself took the opinion that Ennis and Jack were heterosexual men who "develop this love, this bond," also saying in a Details interview: "I approached the story believing that these are actually two straight guys who fall in love."[37] Still others stated that they felt the characters' sexuality to be simply ambiguous. Clarence Patton and Christopher Murray said in New York's Gay City News that Ennis and Jack's experiences were metaphors for "many men who do not identify as gay or even queer, but who nevertheless have sex with other men".[39] A reviewer at Filmcritic.com wrote, "We later see Jack eagerly engage Lureen sexually, with no explanation as to whether he is bisexual, so in need of physical intimacy that anyone, regardless of gender, will do, or merely very adept at faking it."[40] Ledger was quoted as stating in TIME: "I don't think Ennis could be labeled as gay. Without Jack Twist, I don't know that he ever would have come out.... I think the whole point was that it was two souls that fell in love with each other." Conversely, others stated that the characters were undoubtedly gay, including GLBT non-fiction author Eric Marcus, who dismissed "talk of Ennis and Jack being anything but gay as box office-influenced political correctness intended to steer straight audiences to the film". Roger Ebert also agrees that both characters are gay, although in doubt of it: "Jack is able to accept a little more willingly that he is inescapably gay,"[41] and the film's producer James Schamus said, "I suppose movies can be Rorschach tests for all of us, but damn if these characters aren't gay to me."[37] Annie Proulx herself opined "how different readers take the story is a reflection of their own personal values, attitudes, hang-ups."[42][43]

When Ledger and Gyllenhaal were asked about any fear of being cast in such controversial roles, Ledger responded that he was not afraid of the role, but rather he was concerned that he would not be mature enough as an actor to do the story justice. Gyllenhaal has stated that he is extremely proud of the film and his role, regardless of what the reactions would be. He regards rumors of him being bisexual as flattering, stating, "I'm open to whatever people want to call me. I've never really been attracted to men sexually, but I don't think I would be afraid of it if it happened."[44] Both have stated that the sex scenes in the beginning were difficult to do. Lee found the first scene difficult to film and has stated he has great respect for the two main actors for their "courage". Ledger's performance was described by Luke Davies as a difficult and empowering portrayal given the environment of the film, stating: "In Brokeback Mountain the vulnerability, the potential for danger, is so great – a world so masculine it might destroy you for any aberration – that [Ledger's] real brilliance was to bring to the screen a character, Ennis Del Mar, so fundamentally shut down that he is like a bible of unrequited desires, stifled yearnings, lost potential."[45]

On January 3, 2006, Universal, the studio of which Focus Features is the specialty division, announced that Brokeback Mountain was the most honored film of 2005. The independent website criticstop10.com backed that assertion, reporting that Brokeback Mountain was the most frequently selected film on reviewers' year-end Top Ten lists of 2005.[46] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Everyone called it 'The Gay Cowboy Movie.' Until they saw it. In the end, Ang Lee's 2005 love story wasn't gay or straight, just human."[47]

The film was picked as one of the 400 nominated films for the American Film Institute list AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition).[48]

On March 9, 2006, a press release was sent to more than 400 media outlets announcing that nearly $26,000 had been raised for an ad to be posted in the Daily Variety on March 10, 2006.[49] This $26,000 had been raised by just over 600 fans through an online donations site, affiliated with a non-studio-sponsored online forum which is devoted to the film and the book.[50] The story was quickly picked up by several outlets including Yahoo!, The Advocate, and The New York Times.[51][52] The ad served as a simple show of fan support despite its losing the Best Picture Oscar.

International reception[edit]

I think they are genuinely happy to see a Chinese director win an Academy Award with good artistic value. I think that pride is genuine, so I would not think that's hypocritical at all.

—Ang Lee, responding to being celebrated in China for winning the Academy Award, although the film was not released there.[53]

The title of Brokeback Mountain has been translated into several other languages. Often the foreign title is literally The Secret(s) of Brokeback Mountain (how the French, Italian, Portuguese and Polish titles translate). In Canadian French, the title was translated to Souvenirs de Brokeback Mountain (Memories of Brokeback Mountain). In Hungarian, the title was Túl a barátságon (Beyond friendship). The Region 1 DVD has English, Spanish (Latin American), French (Canadian), and on some DVDs, German audio tracks.

The film also met with mixed reactions in other nations, including China and Middle Eastern countries:

  • According to news reports, the film has not been shown in theaters in China, although it was freely available in bootleg DVD and video. The reason given by the state for not showing the film in theaters was that the anticipated audience was too small to justify this type of release. However, foreign media advanced the argument that this was merely a cover and that government hostility is better explained by opposition to the homosexuality portrayed in the film.[54][55] Although the film opened in theaters in Lee's native Taiwan on January 20, 2006, and Hong Kong on February 23, 2006.[56] In an interview with CNN, Ang Lee was asked "Brokeback Mountain has never been shown in China, but when you won Best Director in 2005 for that film, the Chinese media said, and I quote: "You are the pride of the Chinese people all over the world." Do you find that a little hypocritical, the fact that you are feted by China, yet your film is not allowed to be shown there?"[53] Lee responded "It was, I wouldn't say hypocritical. I think they are genuinely happy to see a Chinese director win an Academy Award with good artistic value. I think that pride is genuine, so I would not think that's hypocritical at all. Not only in my judgment, I literally meet people who are genuinely happy. No, no, I don't think so, it's just like they don't want homosexual movie shown in the movies, it's hard to put American logic... It's just something else. I don't know how to describe it, it's just something else. So what can I say?"[53] The word "brokeback" (Chinese: 斷背; pinyin: duànbèi) entered the Chinese lexicon as a slang word for homosexuality.[57]
  • In the Middle East, the film was a political issue. Homosexuality remains a serious crime in most Middle Eastern nations and remains a taboo subject even in the few nations where it is legal. Israel was the only country in the Middle East to show the uncensored version of the film.[citation needed] Lebanon was the only Arab country to show the film, but in a censored format. The film was also released in Turkey.[58] The film was officially banned from cinema screenings in the United Arab Emirates; however, the DVD release of the film was permitted to be rented from stores such as Blockbuster Video.[59][60]
  • On December 8, 2008, the Italian state-owned television channel Rai Due aired a censored version of the film, removing all the scenes with homoerotic references. This led to an uproar of protests from viewers lamenting that it was impossible to follow the plot and from the Arcigay organisation, which considered it akin to an action of homophobic censorship.[61] The state-owned television network RAI defended itself, stating that it was a mistake of the Italian film distributor, and an uncensored version of the film was later shown on March 17, 2009.[62]

Controversies[edit]

Utah theater cancellation[edit]

Miller speaking to protesters at the University of Utah regarding his decision.

On January 6, 2006, Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller pulled the film from his Jordan Commons entertainment complex in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. The decision was made at the last minute after entering into a contract to show the film and heavily advertising for it. He reneged on his obligations approximately two hours before the first scheduled showing upon learning that the plot concerned a same-sex romance. Miller stated that the film got away from "traditional families", something which he believes is "dangerous".[63][64] Focus Features threatened to sue him and announced it would no longer do business with him. In a statement the company added, "You can't do business with people who break their word."

Political pundits[edit]

Several political pundits, including commentators Bill O'Reilly, John Gibson, and Cal Thomas, accused Hollywood of pushing an agenda with the film. On December 23, 2005, the Fox network reported that Brokeback Mountain was facing "Brokeback Burnout", citing as evidence a fall in revenues from Sunday, December 18, 2005, to Monday, as well as subsequent falls during the week,[65] despite the fact that nearly all films see smaller business during the week compared to weekends.

Brokeback Mountain subsequently became the butt of jokes on Gibson's Fox News Radio program for months after the film's release. After Heath Ledger died from an accidental drug overdose in January 2008, Gibson was widely criticized for mocking the deceased actor hours after the news broke. At one point during the broadcast, Gibson played Jake Gyllenhaal's line "I wish I knew how to quit you", before telling his listeners, "Well, I guess he found out how to quit you."[66] Gibson defended himself by saying there was "no point in passing up a good joke".[67]

Gene Shalit and The Today Show[edit]

The film critic for the U.S. morning show The Today Show, Gene Shalit, called Gyllenhaal's character, Jack Twist, a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts." This triggered complaints, particularly from gay media watchdog group GLAAD, which argued that Shalit's characterization of the character would be akin to calling Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic a sexual predator for his romantic pursuit of the character played by Kate Winslet.

In a letter to GLAAD, Shalit's son Peter wrote, "He may have had an unpopular opinion of a movie that is important to the gay community, but he defamed no one, and he is not a homophobe." He went on to say that GLAAD had defamed his father by "falsely accusing him of a repellent form of bigotry".[68]

U.S. social conservatives[edit]

Several conservative Christian groups, such as Concerned Women for America and Focus on the Family, lambasted the film heavily even prior to its release. Following wins by Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Transamerica at the 2006 Golden Globes, Janice Crouse, a Concerned Women for America member, cited these films as examples of how "the media elites are proving that their pet projects are more important than profit" and suggested that they were not popular enough to merit so much critical acclaim.[69]

Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh has referred to the film as "Bareback Mountain" and "Humpback Mountain".[70] Don Imus, another controversial radio personality, had labeled the film "Fudgepack Mountain".[71]

Criticism of marketing[edit]

Some commentators have voiced concerns about the coverage of the film's homosexual theme in the mass media both in advertising and in public events, such as press conferences and award ceremonies. Several journalists, including New York Daily News writer Wayman Wong, Dave Cullen and Daniel Mendelsohn,[72][73] have complained that the film's director, lead actors, and publicity team all avoided using the word gay to describe the story and pointed out that while the film trailer does not show the two male leads kissing each other, it nevertheless includes a clip from a heterosexual love scene.

Quaid lawsuit[edit]

On March 23, 2006, actor Randy Quaid, who played Joe Aguirre (Ennis and Jack's boss), filed a lawsuit against Focus Features (LLC), Del Mar Productions (LLC), James Schamus, David Linde, and Does 1–10 alleging that they intentionally and negligently misrepresented Brokeback Mountain as "a low-budget, art house film with no prospect of making any money" in order to secure Quaid's professional acting services at below-market rates. The film had grossed more than $160 million as of the date of his lawsuit, which sought $10 million plus punitive damages.[74] On May 5, Quaid dropped his lawsuit. Quaid's publicist said he decided to drop the lawsuit after Focus Features agreed to pay him a bonus. Focus Features denies making such a settlement.[75]

Allegations of animal cruelty[edit]

The American Humane Association raised concerns that animals were treated improperly during filming, alleging that sheep were handled roughly and that an elk appeared to have been "shot on cue", suggesting further that the animal was anesthetized for this purpose, violating standard guidelines for animal handling in the film industry.[76]

Post-Academy Awards reaction[edit]

Some critics accused the Academy of homophobia for failing to award the Oscar for Best Picture to Brokeback Mountain and instead giving it to a rival nominee, Crash. Michael Jensen noted that prior to the Oscar ceremony, Brokeback Mountain became "the most honored movie in cinematic history",[77] winning more Best Picture and Director awards than previous Oscar winners Schindler's List and Titanic combined, and pointing out that prior to Brokeback, no film that had won the Writer's Guild, Director's Guild, and Producer's Guild awards failed to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and that only four times in the previous twenty-five years had the Best Picture winner not also been the film with the most nominations. He also noted that only once before had a film not even nominated for the Golden Globe's Best Picture (Crash) gone on to win the Academy Award.

Some critics, notably Roger Ebert, defended the decision to award Crash Best Picture, arguing the better film won that year. Ebert questioned why many critics weren't mentioning the other nominees and why they were bashing Crash only because it won over their preferred film.[78]

Film location[edit]

Like the story on which it was based, the film was set in Wyoming. Some residents of that state who objected to the film's "homosexual content" criticised the setting. While the film was shot largely in the Alberta Rockies, the Wyoming tourism board stated that the film "captured the spirit of Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains".[79]

Fan fiction[edit]

Proulx, author of the original short story, says "I wish I'd never written it" because of the existence of Brokeback Mountain fan fiction:[80]

[The film] is the source of constant irritation in my private life. There are countless people out there who think the story is open range to explore their fantasies and to correct what they see as an unbearably disappointing story.[81]

The authors, mostly men who claim to "understand men better than I do",[80] often send her their works:[81]

They constantly send ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the story to me, expecting me to reply with praise and applause for "fixing" the story. They certainly don't get the message that if you can't fix it you've got to stand it. Most of these "fix-it" tales have the character Ennis finding a husky boyfriend and living happily ever after, or discovering the character Jack is not really dead after all, or having the two men's children meet and marry, etc., etc.[81]

Accolades[edit]

Brokeback Mountain won 71 awards and had an additional 52 nominations.[82] The winners include three Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Score as well as four Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Director, Best Song, and Best Screenplay and four BAFTA Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal). The film also received four Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Ensemble, more than any other film released in 2005. The film is one of several highly acclaimed LGBT-related films of 2005 to be nominated for critical awards; others include Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, Rent, and Transamerica. Some of the most significant awards and nominations for Brokeback Mountain are listed below:

Won[edit]

Academy Awards
1. Best Director, Ang Lee
2. Best Original Score, Gustavo Santaolalla
3. Best Adapted Screenplay, Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana
Golden Globe Awards
1. Best Director, Ang Lee
2. Best Motion Picture — Drama
3. Best Original Song, Gustavo Santaolalla, Bernie Taupin
4. Best Screenplay, Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana
BAFTA Awards
1. Best Direction, Ang Lee
2. Best Film, Diana Ossana, James Schamus
3. Best Supporting Actor, Jake Gyllenhaal
4. Best Adapted Screenplay, Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana

Nominated[edit]

Home media[edit]

This film is the first to be released the same day as both a DVD and a download available via the Internet.[85]

It was released in the United States on April 4, 2006. The film moved more than 1.4 million copies on its first day of release and was the second biggest seller of the week behind Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Though the ranking fluctuated daily, by late March and early April 2006, Brokeback Mountain had been the top-selling DVD on Amazon.com several days running.[86] The Region 2 (Europe) DVD was released on April 24, 2006, though at first only in the UK. Other release dates are much later: France on July 19, 2006, and Poland in September, a considerable time after the theater release in both countries. The Region 4 (Australia/New Zealand/South America) DVD was released on July 19, 2006.[87] Brokeback Mountain was re-released in a collector's edition on January 23, 2007. On that same day, Brokeback Mountain was also released as a Combo Format HD DVD/DVD.[88] Brokeback Mountain was released on Blu-ray Disc on September 30, 2007, but only in the UK.[89] Brokeback Mountain was released on Blu-ray Disc in the United States on March 10, 2009.[90]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Proulx, Annie; McMurtry, Larry; Ossana, Diana (2005, 2006). Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay. London, New York, Toronto and Sydney: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-00-723430-1.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Proulx, Annie (1997, 1999, 2006). Close Range: Wyoming Stories.
  • Proulx, Annie; McMurtry, Larry; Ossana, Diana (2005, 2006). Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay. London, New York, Toronto and Sydney: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-00-723430-1.
  • Packard, Chris (2006) Queer Cowboys: And Other Erotic Male Friendships in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-7597-3.
  • Cante, Richard C. (March 2008). "Introduction"; "Chapter 3". Gay Men and the Forms of Contemporary US Culture. London: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-7546-7230-1.

External links[edit]