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"Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal" (born December 19 1980) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor. The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal began acting at 11 years old. He has appeared in diverse roles since his first lead role in 1999's "October Sky", followed by the 2001 cult hit "Donnie Darko", in which he played a psychologically troubled teen and onscreen brother to his real-life sister, actor Maggie Gyllenhaal. In the 2004 blockbuster "The Day After Tomorrow" he portrayed a student caught in a cataclysmic global cooling event, alongside Dennis Quaid as his father. He then played against type as a frustrated Marine in "Jarhead" (2005). The same year, he won critical acclaim portraying a role that entered popular shorthand as a 'gay cowboy', in the controversial but highly lauded film "Brokeback Mountain".Read Full Bio >>
Gyllenhaal has taken an activist role in supporting various political and social causes. He appeared in Rock the Vote advertising, campaigned for the Democratic Party in the 2004 election, and promoted environmental causes and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Early life and education
Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, California to film director Stephen Gyllenhaal and film producer and screenwriter Naomi Foner (née Achs). Maggie Gyllenhaal, his sister, is also an actor, and played his sister in the movie "Donnie Darko". Gyllenhaal's father was raised in the Swedenborgian religion and is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. His last native Swedish ancestor was his great-great-grandfather, Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal's mother is from a Jewish family from New York City. Gyllenhaal's Bar Mitzvah celebration took place at a homeless shelter because his parents wanted to instill in him a sense of gratitude for his privileged lifestyle. Gyllenhaal has said that he considers himself 'more Jewish than anything else'. Gyllenhaal's parents insisted that he have summer jobs to support himself. He worked as a lifeguard, and as a busboy at a restaurant operated by a family friend.
During childhood, Gyllenhaal had regular exposure to filmmaking due to his family's deep ties to the industry. As an 11-year-old he made his acting debut as Billy Crystal's son in the 1991 comedy film "City Slickers". His parents did not allow him to appear in the 1992 film "The Mighty Ducks" because it would have required him leaving home for two months. In subsequent years, his parents allowed him to audition for parts, but regularly forbade him to take them if he were chosen. He was allowed to appear in his father's films several times. Gyllenhaal appeared in the 1993 film "A Dangerous Woman" (along with sister Maggie), in a 1994 episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street", and in the 1998 comedy "Homegrown". Along with their mother, Jake and Maggie appeared in two episodes of "Molto Mario", an Italian cooking show on the Food Network. Prior to his senior year in high school, the only other film not directed by his father in which Gyllenhaal was allowed to perform was "Josh and S.A.M.", a little-known children's adventure.
Gyllenhaal graduated from the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles in 1998, then attended Columbia University, where his sister and mother also attended, to study Eastern religions and philosophy. Gyllenhaal dropped out after two years to concentrate on acting, but has expressed intentions to eventually finish his degree.
Gyllenhaal's first lead role was in "October Sky", Joe Johnston's 1999 adaptation of the Homer Hickam autobiography "Rocket Boys", in which he portrayed a young man from West Virginia striving to win a science scholarship to avoid becoming a coal miner. The film earned $32 million and was described in the "Sacramento News and Review" as Gyllenhaal's 'breakout performance.'
"Donnie Darko", Gyllenhaal's second major film, was not a box office success upon its initial 2001 release, but eventually became a cult favorite. The film, directed by Richard Kelly, is set in 1988 and stars Gyllenhaal as a troubled teenager who, after narrowly escaping death, experiences visions of a 6 foot (1.8 m) tall rabbit named Frank who tells him that the world is coming to an end. Gyllenhaal's performance was well-received by critics; Dan Kois of Salon.com claimed that 'Gyllenhaal manages the difficult trick of seeming both blandly normal and profoundly disturbed, often within the same scene.'
After the critical success of "Donnie Darko", Gyllenhaal's next role was as the lead character in 2002's "Highway", a film ignored by audiences and critics alike. His performance was described by one critic as 'silly, cliched and straight to video.' Gyllenhaal had more success starring opposite Jennifer Aniston in "The Good Girl", which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival; he also starred in "Lovely & Amazing" with Catherine Keener. In both films he plays an unstable character who begins a reckless affair with an older woman. Gyllenhaal later described these as 'teenager in transition' roles. Gyllenhaal later starred in the Touchstone Pictures romantic comedy "Bubble Boy", which was loosely based on the story of David Vetter. The film portrays the title character's adventures as he pursues the love of his life before she marries the wrong man. The film was panned by critics, with one calling it an 'empty-headed, chaotic, utterly tasteless atrocity'.
Following "Bubble Boy", Gyllenhaal starred opposite Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Ellen Pompeo in "Moonlight Mile", as a young man coping with the death of his fiancée and the grief of her parents. The story, which received mixed reviews, is loosely based on writer/director Brad Silberling's personal experiences following the murder of girlfriend Rebecca Schaeffer.
Gyllenhaal was almost cast as Spider-Man for "Spider-Man 2" due to director Sam Raimi's concerns about original "Spider-Man" star Tobey Maguire`s health. Maguire recovered, however, and the sequel was shot without Gyllenhaal. Instead, Gyllenhaal starred in the blockbuster "The Day After Tomorrow" in 2004, co-starring Dennis Quaid as his father.
In his theatrical debut Gyllenhaal starred on the London stage in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of "This is Our Youth". Gyllenhaal said, 'Every actor I look up to has done theatre work, so I knew I had to give it a try.' The play, which had been a critical sensation on Broadway, ran for eight weeks in London's West End. Gyllenhaal received favorable critical reviews and an Evening Standard Theatre Award in the category 'Outstanding Newcomer.'
"Brokeback Mountain" and after
2005 was a prolific year for Gyllenhaal, who starred in the critically praised films "Proof", "Jarhead", and "Brokeback Mountain". In "Proof", featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins, Gyllenhaal played a graduate student in mathematics who tries to convince Paltrow's character to publish a revolutionary proof to a problem puzzling the mathematicians' community. In "Jarhead", Gyllenhaal played against his usual 'sensitive yet disturbed' type by displaying an aggressive masculinity as a violent U.S. Marine during the first Gulf War. Public reaction to this film was muted due to Gyllenhaal's simultaneous appearance in "Brokeback Mountain".
In "Brokeback Mountain", Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play two sheep herders who, after overcoming initial reluctance, have a homosexual relationship during the 1960s and 1970s. The film was often referred to in the media with the shorthand phrase 'the gay cowboy movie.' The film won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival. The film went on to win four Golden Globe Awards, four British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) 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 also won the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for the same role and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination and Best Film Ensemble nomination from the Screen Actors 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.
Gyllenhaal expressed mixed feelings about the experience of being directed by Ang Lee in "Brokeback Mountain", but generally had more praise than criticism for Lee's directing style. While complaining of the way Lee tended to disconnect with his actors once filming began, Gyllenhaal praised his encouraging direction of the actors and sensitive approach to the material. At the Directors Guild of America Awards on January 28 2006, Gyllenhaal also praised Lee for 'his humbleness and his respect for everyone around him.'
When 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. When asked about such gossip during an interview, Gyllenhaal said:
"You know it's flattering when there's a rumor that says I'm bisexual. It means I can play more kinds of roles. I'm open to whatever people want to call me. I've never really been attracted to men sexually, but I don't think I would be afraid of it if it happened."
Gyllenhaal narrated the 2005 short animated film The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, based on Mordicai Gerstein's book of the same name about Philippe Petit's famous stunt. In January 2007, as host of Saturday Night Live, he put on a sparkly evening dress and sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from the musical Dreamgirls for his opening monologue, dedicating the song to his "unique fan base... the fans of Brokeback."
In 2007, Gyllenhaal starred in David Fincher's Zodiac, which was based on a true story. He played Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist and author of two books about the Zodiac serial killer. Gyllenhaal starred opposite Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Reese Witherspoon in the October 2007 release Rendition, a Gavin Hood-directed political thriller about the U.S. policy of extraordinary rendition. In 2009, he appeared with Tobey Maguire in Jim Sheridan's remake of Susanne Bier's 2004 Danish language film Brothers. In 2008, it was announced that Gyllenhaal would star in the comedy Nailed, which he filmed in South Carolina with Jessica Biel, as well as Doug Liman's as yet untitled film about the race for lunar colonization. The following year, Gyllenhaal played the lead role in the movie adaptation of the video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and released by Disney on May 28, 2010 and in the romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs, released on November 24, 2010, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination.
In 2012, Gyllenhaal starred alongside Michael Peña in David Ayer's film End of Watch about two Los Angeles street cops. The film was released on September 21, 2012 and received positive reviews, with Roger Ebert saying that "End of Watch" is one of the best police movies in recent years, a virtuoso fusion of performances and often startling action" and Salon.com's Andrew O'Hehir stating that the film was "at least the best cop movie since James Gray's "We Own the Night," and very likely since Antoine Fuqua's memorable "Training Day" (which, not coincidentally, was written by Ayer)". To train for the role, Gyllenhaal took tactical training and participated in actual police drives with co-star Michael Peña to help establish the language of the characters.
Gyllenhaal's sister Maggie is engaged to actor Peter Sarsgaard, Gyllenhaal's co-star in "Jarhead" and "Rendition". Gyllenhaal's niece, Ramona Sarsgaard, was born on October 3 2006. In December, 2006, they escaped a fire that destroyed Manka's, a famed lodge and restaurant in Inverness, California, at which they were vacationing. Jamie Lee Curtis is Gyllenhaal's godmother, and he has repeatedly referred to his godfathers being a gay couple. Gyllenhaal himself is the godfather of Matilda Rose Ledger (born October 28 2005), daughter of close friends Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, both of whom co-starred with him in "Brokeback Mountain". His uncle, Anders Gyllenhaal, is the executive editor of "The Miami Herald". His late uncle is filmmaker Robert Achs.
The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal's immediate family includes his sister, actress Maggie, who is married to actor Peter Sarsgaard, Gyllenhaal's co-star in Jarhead and Rendition. In December 2006, Jake and his sister escaped a fire that destroyed Manka's, a famed lodge and restaurant in Inverness, California, at which they were vacationing. Gyllenhaal's niece, Ramona Sarsgaard, was born on October 3, 2006. Jamie Lee Curtis is Gyllenhaal's godmother, and he has repeatedly referred to his godfathers being a gay couple. Gyllenhaal himself is the godfather of Matilda Rose Ledger (born October 28, 2005), daughter of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, both of whom co-starred with him in Brokeback Mountain.
Gyllenhaal dated actress Kirsten Dunst for nearly two years, starting in 2002. He later dated his Rendition co-star Reese Witherspoon from about 2007 to 2009. He dated singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from October 2010 until January 2011. In March 2013, it became public that he's in a relationship with model Emily DiDonato.
Gyllenhaal was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2006. He was also listed in People's "Hottest Bachelors of 2006". In response to mainstream press lists like these, thousands of gay and bisexual men were polled for the 2007 and 2008 "AfterElton.com Hot 100 List". Gyllenhaal was ranked at No.1 in both consecutive years. He was ranked at No.2 on the Gay Wired Magazine poll of male actors who have played gay characters in movies.<< Less Bio
|2013||People's Choice Awards, USA||Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor||End of Watch (2012).||Nominated|
|2013||Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actor in an Action Movie||End of Watch (2012).||Nominated|
|2011||People's Choice Awards, USA||Favorite Action Star||Nominated|
|2011||Golden Globes, USA||Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical||Love & Other Drugs (2010).||Nominated|
|2010||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actor: Drama||Brothers (2009/I).||Nominated|
|2010||Satellite Awards||Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical||Love & Other Drugs (2010).||Nominated|
|2008||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actor: Drama||Rendition (2007).||Nominated|
|2007||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actor: Horror/Thriller||Zodiac (2007).||Nominated|
|2006||Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Nominated|
|2006||NRJ Ciné Awards||Best Kiss||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Nominated|
|2006||Palm Springs International Film Festival||Won|
|2006||Academy Awards, USA||Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Nominated|
|2006||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Nominated|
|2006||MTV Movie Awards||Best Kiss||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Won|
|2006||Central Ohio Film Critics Association||Best Ensemble||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||2nd place|
|2006||Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Nominated|
|2006||Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Nominated|
|2006||BAFTA Awards||Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Won|
|2006||Austin Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actor||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||2nd place|
|2005||Gotham Awards||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Nominated|
|2005||Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||3rd place|
|2005||Hollywood Film Festival||Breakthrough Actor||Brokeback Mountain (2005), Jarhead (2005) and Proof (2005).||Won|
|2005||Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards||Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Won|
|2005||San Diego Film Critics Society Awards||Brokeback Mountain (2005), Jarhead (2005) and Proof (2005).||Won|
|2005||National Board of Review, USA||Best Supporting Actor||Brokeback Mountain (2005).||Won|
|2005||Satellite Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama||Jarhead (2005).||Nominated|
|2004||Irish Film and Television Awards||Best International Actor||The Day After Tomorrow (2004).||Nominated|
|2003||Satellite Awards||Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical||The Good Girl (2002).||Nominated|
|2003||Chlotrudis Awards||Best Actor||Donnie Darko (2001).||Won|
|2003||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Breakout Star - Male||The Good Girl (2002).||Nominated|
|2002||Independent Spirit Awards||Best Male Lead||Donnie Darko (2001).||Nominated|
|2002||Young Hollywood Awards||Breakthrough Performance - Male||Won|
|2000||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor||October Sky (1999).||Nominated|
|1999||Teen Choice Awards||Film - Breakout Performance||October Sky (1999).||Nominated|
|1999||YoungStar Awards||Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film||October Sky (1999).||Nominated|
2013 Tony Awards - Arrivals
"Source Code" ("Codigo Fuente") Madrid Photocall
"Source Code" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals
83rd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room
AFI Fest 2010 Opening Night Gala Screening of "Love & Other Drugs" - Arrivals
25th Anniversary FINCA Gala - Arrivals