Heath Ledger refused to present at the 2006 Oscars over a joke about Brokeback Mountain.
Heath Ledger refused to present at the 2006 Oscars over a joke about Brokeback Mountain.

Oscars joke that Heath Ledger hated

Late actor Heath Ledger was so adamant that 2005's Brokeback Mountain be taken seriously, he refused to entertain those who made jest of the homosexual relationship central to the story, according to co-star Jake Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal recently revealed that the Oscar-winner refused to present at the 2006 Academy Awards due to a joke written into the ceremony's opening monologue.

"I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it," Gyllenhaal, 39, told fashion magazine, Another Man.

"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.'"

Gyllenhaal and Ledger at the SAG Awards in 2006.
Gyllenhaal and Ledger at the SAG Awards in 2006.

Gyllenhaal continued, "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.'"

Brokeback Mountain, which is available to stream on Foxtel Now, received eight Academy Award nominations, including acting nominations for both Gyllenhaal and Ledger. Both went home empty-handed, but Ledger won posthumously in 2009 for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

The actors in a scene from 2005 film Brokeback Mountain.
The actors in a scene from 2005 film Brokeback Mountain.

Ledger passed away in January 2008 after accidentally overdosing on a cocktail of oxycodone, diazepam, hydrocodone and doxylamine. He was 28.

This article originally appeared in the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.


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