JAKE GYLLENHAAL, American actor, born; In Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play two sheep herders who, after overcoming initial awkwardness, have an intimate relationship during the 1960s and 1970s. Brokeback Mountain became known by the shorthand phrase “the Gay cowboy movie” and the name “Brokeback” became an adjective, describing anything that it was attached to as Gay. It went on to win the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival and four Golden Globe Awards, four British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, and three Academy Awards.

Gyllenhaal was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his performance, but lost to George Clooney for Syriana. Gyllenhaal won the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for the role and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination and Best Film Ensemble nomination from the Screen Actor’s Guild. The actor won an MTV Movie Award for “Best Kiss” in 2005 for his movie “Brokeback Mountain” Shortly after the 2006 Academy Awards, Gyllenhaal was invited to join the Academy in recognition of his acting career. Most recently, Gyllenhaal was awarded the 2006 Young Artist Award for Artistic Excellence by The Americans for the Arts National Arts Awards for his role.

Asked about his kissing scenes with Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, Gyllenhaal said, “As an actor, I think we need to embrace the times we feel most uncomfortable.” When asked about the more intimate scenes with Ledger, Gyllenhaal likened them to “doing a sex scene with a woman I’m not particularly attracted to.” Following the release of Brokeback Mountain, rumors circulated regarding the actor’s sexual orientation. His appearance on Saturday Night Live, singing “And I am Telling You” from Dream Girls demonstrated how little the rumors have bothered him. Ahhh…if only.