The Hollywood Foreign Press association has announced its nominees for next year’s Golden Globe Awards – usually seen as a good indicator of what films will be picked for Oscar gongs – in Los Angeles. Leading the pack with seven nominations is the gay themed film, Brokeback Mountain, directed by Ang Lee and starring Heath Ledger.

Brokeback Mountain tells the story of two cowboys in love. It’s described as “a raw, powerful story of two young men, a Wyoming ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy, who meet in the summer of 1963 sheepherding in the harsh, high grasslands of contemporary Wyoming and form an unorthodox yet life-long bond–by turns ecstatic, bitter and conflicted”.

The film has already picked up a number of awards including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award for Best Film for 2005, and the New York Film Critics Circle’s best picture, best director and best actor (for Heath Ledger) awards, all of which it received in the last three days.

The film, while in limited release in the USA, has done great box office – taking in $547 425 over the weekend from just five cinemas. It is expected to go on a wider release next weekend, many anticipating the response from the American public as a gauge of its acceptance of gay leading characters in a film.

Brokeback Mountain received Golden Globe nominations for best dramatic picture, best director (Ang Lee), best actor in a drama (Ledger), best supporting actress in a drama (Michelle Williams), best screenplay, best original score and best original song. “It’s a real honour to be a part of a movie that has been as well-received as Brokeback Mountain has, and I’m so proud of it,” said Heath Ledger on the film’s critical success.

Other films contending for the best dramatic picture include Good Night, and Good Luck, The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence and Match Point. South Africa’s Charlize Theron also received a nomination – in the category of best dramatic film actress for her role in North Country.

Brokeback Mountain is set to be released in South Africa in March next year. The Golden Globe awards will take place on January 16 in Beverly Hills, California.

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