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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 00:22 GMT
Brokeback Mountain's steady rise
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger
Brokeback Mountain has been gaining critical acclaim and awards and nominations aplenty since its release.

It has been nominated for eight Oscars, including the prestigious best film award, following its best film wins at the Baftas and Golden Globes.

Brokeback Mountain stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, telling the story of the forbidden love that develops between two cowboys on a Wyoming ranch in 1963.

Based on a 1997 novella by author E Annie Proulx, it is directed by Ang Lee, who was also behind Hulk and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

The low-budget, independent cowboy drama premiered at Venice film festival last September, where it won the top prize - the coveted Golden Lion.

Golden Lion - Venice film festival
Two awards - LA Film Critics
Three awards - New York Film Critics Circle
One award - Producers Guild of America
One nomination - Writers Guild of America
One award - Directors Guild of America
Four nominations - Screen Actors Guild
Three awards - Critics Choice Awards
Four awards - Golden Globes
Nine nominations - Bafta awards
Eight nominations - Academy Awards
Taiwanese-born Lee said at the time had had found it difficult "pulling down people's preconceptions of the American West, preconceptions that were created by movies".

"I just wanted to make a love story," he said. "What's important is that the material touches me at a gut level and I connect with it."

By December, the slew of film awards building up to the Oscars were under way, and the film caught the attention of the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle.

It won best film and best director, while Ledger was runner-up for the best actor prize.

Just days later it was rewarded with three prizes from the New York Film Critics Circle, for best film and director, while Ledger won best actor.

Ang Lee
Director Ang Lee took the top prize at Venice film festival

"A lot of people among critics are responding to it because it is so daring," said Gene Seymour, chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, referring to the film's central gay romance.

In January Brokeback Mountain won four Golden Globes - including best drama - and the Producers Guild of America's top award, often regarded as an indicator of Oscar success.

The film also won the best film category at the Baftas, beating Capote, The Constant Gardener, Crash and Good Night, and Good Luck

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain is a love story, its director says

However the film has not had a totally clear run of successes.

It failed to win any of the four Screen Actors Guild awards for which it was nominated, losing the best ensemble cast prize to race movie Crash.

The National Society of Film Critics snubbed Brokeback Mountain, favouring Capote - a biopic about US writer Truman Capote - as its best picture.

The cowboy movie also hit headlines when it was dropped by a cinema in Utah because its owner disapproved of its adult content. He is a prominent member of the Mormon church, which is against homosexuality.

Mike Thompson of gay rights group Equality Utah said it was disappointing people were barred from seeing it.

But this did not stop the Critics Choice Awards from giving it three prizes, for best film, best director and best supporting actress for Michelle Williams.

Williams, who plays the disappointed wife to Heath Ledger's character Ennis Del Mar, shared her prize with Amy Adams, for the comedy Junebug.

It remains to be seen whether the film can capitalise on its nominations, but all the indications so far put it in pole position.

Watch a clip from Brokeback Mountain

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