Heath Ledger refused to present at 2007 Oscars over homophobic 'Brokeback Mountain' joke

The late actor Heath Ledger refused to present at the Oscars in 2007 after being asked to make fun of the characters in Brokeback Mountain and their gay romance.

Ledger’s co-star Jake Gyllenhaal revealed the news in an interview when speaking about how he and Ledger were invited to the Oscars the year after they won three Academy Awards for the film, which told the story of two cowboys who had a relationship from 1963 to 1983.

Gyllenhaal explained that they were asked to present at the Oscars and joke about their characters’ relationship.


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“I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it. And Heath refused,” Gyllenhaal told Another Man Mag.

“I was sort of at the time, ‘Oh, OK… 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.'”

“That’s the thing I loved about Heath. He would never joke. Someone wanted to make a joke about the story or whatever, he was like, ‘No. This is about love. Like, that’s it, man. Like, no,'” Gyllenhaal added.

Brokeback Mountain received eight Academy Award nominations and the film told the story of Ennis (Ledger) and Jack (Gyllenhaal) who were two shepherds who develop a sexual and emotional relationship. Their relationship became complicated when both men got married to their respective girlfriends.


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Ledger died at age 28 in his New York City apartment after shooting wrapped on The Dark Knight, the film that would earn him his posthumous Oscar for his performance as The Joker.

The actor was in the middle of filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death, and the strenuous shooting schedule left him drained. Ledger’s toxicology report revealed a cocktail multiple drugs in his system, including oxycodone, temazepam, diazepam, hydrocodone, alprazolam and doxylamine.

Ledger was very popular in his other films like 10 Things I Hate About YouThe Patriot and Brokeback Mountain.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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