Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal played cowboys Ennis and Jack, making love passionately in their tent or in the great outdoors in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. The film touched everyone's sensibility and started a very civilized discussion over love and open-mindedness.
Brokeback Mountain , which earned four Golden Globes (including Best Picture-Drama) and three Academy Awards, has been described as a neo-Western romantic drama (adapted from the a short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx), and depicts the complex emotional and sexual relationship between Ennis and Jack in the American West from 1963 to 1983.
It received immediate critical praise: before being released, it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the British Academy Film Awards. It then received seven Golden Globe nominations, winning four (Film, Director – Ang Lee – Script by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, and Song).
At the 63rd Golden Globes ceremony, Clint Eastwood presented the award for Best Direction to Ang Lee, who said: “Getting this award from 'the Man' is too much!” Then he added: “There were so many good films this year, a very special moment for American cinema.” As a matter of fact, Brokeback Mountain competed at the Globes against the very much acclaimed Good Night, and Good Luck, The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence, and Match Point.
Heath Ledger was nominated for Best Actor at the Globes, but Philip Seymour Hoffman won for Capote; neither of them is among us anymore. Brokeback co-star Michelle Williams (she and Ledger fell in love during the production) was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Jake's wife, but Rachel Weisz won for The Constant Gardener.
The film was shot in Alberta (Canada) and in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming – among other spectacular locations – with the relatively low budget of $12 million and became a solid commercial success. The film was praised as "a beautifully epic Western... whose gay love story is imbued with heartbreaking universality.”