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  • NEARLY GOLDEN photo | Heath Ledger

Credit: KIMBERLY FRENCH/FOCUS FEATURES

Published: Tuesday January 22, 2008 20:00 PM EST

2008

NEARLY GOLDEN

By the time he starred in 2005's Brokeback Mountain (left), Ledger had already worked opposite Billy Bob Thornton (Monster's Ball) and Mel Gibson (The Patriot). In his Oscar-nominated role of Ennis Del Mar, director Ang Lee gushed to PEOPLE that Ledger's performance was reminiscent of "a young [Marlon] Brando."