Lifting the veil on unusual themes
`Brokeback Mountain' leads a trio of Oscar-nominated films that explore alternative sexuality.
A film, which caused a stir for highlighting an unconventional human relationship, has created movie history. "Brokeback Mountain," which has been making waves since the Venice Festival, has now picked up eight nominations, the highest score at the 2005 Oscar race.
The nominations include Best Picture, Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Actor (Heath Ledger), Best Supporting Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematographer and Best Original Music Score. The winners will be announced at the Oscar Awards ceremony on March 5.
The film has already won four Golden Globes, out of the seven nominations, for Best Drama, Screenplay, Director and Song.
It is all about two cowboys in Wyoming growing up in the 1960s. They are drawn to each other and they have an affair. Realising that it is not normal, they split up, marry and raise families. After many years, the spark still burns in them and they revive the affair, which expectedly disturbs their family lives. Starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Ang Lee, the Taiwanese filmmaker who won recognition in Hollywood with his award-winning hit movie "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," was so impressed by the novella of the Pulitzer-winning writer Annie Proulx that it began to haunt him, and he could only exorcise it by making the movie. Director Lee narrates the moving tale in a sensitive manner without hiding the amorous sequences behind sagebrush bushes.
The year 2005 may justifiably be described as `the year of the gay movie' in Hollywood. During this year, three movies came out to play an essential role in setting a new trend. They are "Capote," "Transamerica," (both of which have also been nominated for the Oscars) andthe box-office success, "Brokeback Mountain."
IN THE OSCAR RACE: Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain
"Capote" is not a bio-pic of the great writer Truman Capote but deals with his experiences in writing the literary sensation of the 20th century, "In Cold Blood," which was described as a `non-fiction novel,' a new genre in creative writing.
Capote was bisexual and his role was brilliantly recreated by Philip Seymour Hoffman who has a striking resemblance to the writer.
"Transamerica" has an unusual storyline. It is all about a man, who undergoes a sex change. Later, `she' learns that `she' has already fathered a son, and the drama explodes when the son sets out to seek his father!
Felicity Hoffman who played the lead role also won a Golden Globe for Best Actress, and is strongly tipped to win an Oscar too. Suggestions of homosexuality are as old as cinema. In one of the earliest movie experiments by the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, two men dance intimately while a man plays the violin.
The sissy with a limp wrist, powdered cheeks, and swaying walk was a stock comic character in many Hollywood movies.
The moralistic norms of American society of the times made the subject taboo in Hollywood. ``The Children's Hour," Lillian Hellman's famed play about two lesbian teachers, was a sensation in the 1930s. It was filmed by William Wyler in 1936 and the lesbian element was deleted and even the title was changed to "These Three." Wyler remade it in 1962 under the original title bringing back the lesbian element. Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine played the two women.
Bennett Miller's Capote.
Another movie of that era, "Tea and Sympathy," (1956) again based on a successful and sensational stage-play by Robert Anderson, was one of the earliest to bring out homosexual tendencies in youth. A highly sensitive teenager, seemingly homosexual, is ridiculed by his schoolmates and even his father, who wants him to be a man. The housemaster's wife (Deborah Kerr) attempts to `normalise' him by offering more than `tea and sympathy.' The last scene of seduction in which Kerr begins to unbutton her dress, shocked audiences of the 1950s!
By the 1970s, the veil was lifted with several movies and hits "Boys in the Band"(1970), "Midnight Cowboy" (1970), "Sunday, Bloody, Sunday" (1971) and "The Killing of Sister George" (1970, the story of a lesbian actress whose world collapses around her when she is dismissed from a TV serial. It attracted much attention for its treatment of a lesbian in the lead role).
With "Philadelphia" (1993), gay movies won their deserved niche in mainstream Hollywood cinema. Dealing with HIV-AIDS and homosexuals, it had top stars Tom Hanks and Denzil Washington. This film shows that homosexuals are also as normal as other people.
Then in 2005came "Brokeback Mountain," "Capote," and "Transamerica" heralding the dawn of the `gay movie.'
In Billy Wilder's hit movie, "Some Like It Hot" Jack Lemmon in drag gets wooed by Joe E. Brown. When Lemmon tells Brown that he is not a woman but a man, the suitor speaks the classic exit line, "Well, nobody is perfect!"
Lee wins DGA award again
Ang Lee won the prestigious Directors Guild of America's (DGA) Best Director Award for "Brokeback Mountain." This is the second time he has bagged this Award having won it earlier for his box office smash, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
"This is the only award I put on my desk. Thank you, it means so much to me," he said, while accepting the award. Very few directors have won the DGA Award twice. Steven Spielberg holds the record for having won it thrice. With this, award "Brokeback Mountain" rolls closer to the Oscars. The nominations were announced on January 31 and the winners will get their Oscar statuettes on March 5.
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