Ang Lee Believes Discrimination Led to Brokeback Mountain Losing Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain is arguably considered the best movie made in 2005, even though it didn’t win that year’s Oscar for Best Picture. Director Ang Lee said that the move may have come due to inherent discrimination.

Speaking to IndieWire, Lee was asked whether or not he believes that Brokeback Mountain losing Best Picture to Crash was due to any anti-gay discrimination from the Academy.

“I think so, yeah. Back then, [Brokeback Mountain] had a ceiling. We got a lot of support — up to that much,” Lee said, referring to the film’s Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score Oscar wins. “It has that feeling. I wasn’t holding a grudge or anything. It’s just how they were.”

Lee was held on stage in case the film won Best Picture

Despite the movie not going home with the most prestigious Oscar, Lee recalled a funny story of a stage manager making sure he stayed right near the stage after winning Best Director because they assumed he would win Best Picture.

“I got my award, which was [second to] last to the big one, and I was walking off the stage, they called me down, and said, stay here. That’s your mark. Everybody assumes you will win, so stay at that mark,” Lee explained. “Right next to the stage was the curtain. The next was Best Picture. Stay here, just stay here. I saw Jack Nicholson, his profile, he opened the envelope, and I go, ‘Oh my god, oh my god.’ It took like 10 seconds before he announced, and then he went, ‘Crash.’”

Despite the film’s Best Picture loss, it remains one of the most influential films of this generation and is often seen as a big reason for the advancement of queer cinema into the mainstream.

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