The actor and Navy vet Ernest Borgnine, who’s spent six decades in Hollywood starring in McHale’s Navy and voicing a part in SpongeBob SquarePants, is set to receive in January the Screen Actors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award, something the Rhode Island International Film Festival already handed him. But Borgnine, 93, was a total meanie about Brokeback Mountain, a film he didn’t care for because, eww, gays are yucky. And now his eligibility for the SAG honor is being questioned!
The LAT‘s Tom O’Neil relives history:
While Borgnine’s work ethic is admirable — he has three films due out this year — his personal politics are less than laudable. Four years ago, he waded into the discussion about the merits of the movie “Brokeback Mountain,” the first film to feature A-list talent in a gay love story. As Borgnine told Entertainment Weekly, “I didn’t see it and I don’t care to see it. I know they say it’s a good picture, but I don’t care to see it.” Then he added, “If John Wayne were alive, he’d be rolling over in his grave!”
Such sentiments were widespread enough in Hollywood to cause “Brokeback Mountain” to stumble in the home stretch of the awards derby. The film was the front-runner after having been named the best picture of the year by 23 award groups, including the Producers Guild, BAFTA, Indie Spirits, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., New York Film Critics Circle, the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. and the Golden Globes (where “Crash” wasn’t even nominated).
So far, the newspaper’s poll has readers favoring Borgnine receiving the award by a 63-37 vote. But shouldn’t the real question be: Borgnine might have never seen Brokeback, but has anybody seen Borgnine’s A Grandpa for Christmas? No? Any takers?