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Heath Ledger Refused To Present At Oscars Over Brokeback Mountain Jokes

Jake Gyllenhaal has revealed that his Brokeback Mountain co-star Heath Ledger refused to present at the Oscars over jokes about the film.

Speaking to Another Man magazine, Gyllenhaal, who starred opposite Ledger in Ang Lee’s film, said that the star was so adamant that the 2005 film be taken seriously, that he refused to present at the 2007 Academy Awards after they planned to write a joke involving their characters’ romantic relationship into the opening monologue.

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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," Gyllenhaal, 39, told the publication.

“And Heath refused,” he explained. “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.’"

Image: Universal Studios

The actor added, “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.’”

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The classic romance -- which Gyllenhaal and Ledger starred as Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, respectively -- received eight Academy Award nominations at the 2007 ceremony, including acting nominations for both stars.

In July, Gylenhaall spoke out on how the film had been vastly different to anything he had done in career to that point, telling Sunday Today:

“When we did Brokeback Mountain, I was like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ This is a level of focus and attention that hits a certain nerve and you’re like, ‘This is bigger than me,’ ” he explained. “I understand what it is but this little movie we made that meant so much to us has now become not ours anymore. It’s the world’s.”

Ledger tragically died in January 2008 after accidentally overdosing on various medications, including oxycodone, diazepam, hydrocodone and doxylamine. He was 28.

Image: Universal Studios