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Director Ang Lee fielded congratulatory calls on Brokeback Mountain's leading seven Golden Globe nominations from his lonely hotel room in Minneapolis on Tuesday. "The hardest thing for me is to stay calm," said the Taiwanese director, who is known for just that. "This is great news for us. It's a wonderful feeling."
Lee was nominated for his direction, while actors Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams were also cited. The picture also picked up nods for best drama, screenplay, score, and song. What made Lee happiest was knowing that after a strong opening weekend and support from not only the Globes but also the New York and L.A. film critics, the gay cowboy romance will now reach a wider audience.
"When we started making the movie, we assumed it would have a very limited release," he said. "It will be interesting to see how it plays when it goes wider, out of the art houses. We don't know what to expect. We have had great response. Maybe there was so much love put into the movie that in the nicest way, people embrace the movie and encourage other people to see it."
The Golden Globes will help bring attention to the film around the world, Lee said. "Usually cowboy movies are not a popular genre outside the U.S., but we are learning every day how people respond. It's a love story, so it shouldn't have any boundary." Lee will continue on the promotion trail he has been on since the Venice International Film Festival in August. "Every other day I'm in a different city," he said. "We still have some ways to go. The film has just been released, so we still have some follow-up to do. They don't teach you this in film school."
Brokeback Mountain, a tale of thwarted love between cowboys played by Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, earned almost $550,000 from just five theaters during its first weekend. "The numbers are telling us that someone walking on the sidewalk in front of a theater playing Brokeback Mountain is likely to be vacuumed inside," said James Schamus, copresident of the film's distributor, Focus Features. "Brokeback Mountain was a movie made so modestly that as of 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon, we were in profit."
Brokeback is performing well without the firestorm of controversy many predicted. "The amazing thing about the controversy is, there is no controversy," Schamus said. "Media folks are waking up, trying to figure out how to write up a controversy story where there is none." (Reuters)