The gay cowboy romance "Brokeback Mountain" positioned itself as a key Oscar competitor Tuesday, roping in seven Golden Globe nominations, including best dramatic picture and honors for actor Heath Ledger and director Ang Lee. Other best drama picture contenders were the murder thriller "The Constant Gardener," the Edward R. Murrow tale "Good Night, and Good Luck," the mobster story "A History of Violence" and "Match Point," a drama about infidelity.
The Globes were a triumph for smaller budgeted films over big studio productions. "This is the first time in the history of the Golden Globes that all of the best (dramatic) film nominees are independent movies made for under $30 million (Ђ25 million)," said Philip Berk, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the awards.
The Globes have a separate category for musical or comedy films. Nominated were the theater tale "Mrs. Henderson Presents," the Jane Austen costume pageant "Pride & Prejudice," the Broadway musical "The Producers," the divorce story "The Squid and the Whale," and the Johnny Cash film biography "Walk the Line."
The Globes were the latest recognition for "Brokeback Mountain," a critical darling that has received top honors from critics groups in New York City, Los Angeles and Boston. Still, the film has an uphill trail to the Oscars, whose voters may hesitate to anoint a gay-themed movie as its champion.
"It's going to be a front-runner, but it really has a mountain to climb, because never have we seen a gay romance in the best-picture race before," said Tom O'Neil, who runs theenvelope.com, an awards Web site. Movies with gay angles have earned acting honors, Tom Hanks winning for "Philadelphia" and Hilary Swank for "Boys Don't Cry," but those movies did not break into the best-picture pack.
Yet "Brokeback Mountain" has proved a favorite at film festivals and debuted with huge box-office grosses last weekend, taking in almost $550,000 (Ђ461,215) in just five theaters. The movie goes into wider release over the next few weeks, its backers hoping it will find a broad audience despite the subject matter, reports the AP. N.U.