Wenner Queer for Homo Oater

The current Rolling Stone offers an image of Heath Ledger, barefoot, floating Jesus-like on water–and a cover line touting “Famous Failures Back in the Real World.” The magazine isn’t referring to Ledger’s Oscar loss for best actor or Brokeback Mountain‘s best-picture defeat, but to an inside piece on American Idol.

According to a Wenner Media source, the magazine was scheduled to put the American Idol piece on the cover, but boss Jann Wenner decided to switch to Ledger just before Friday’s close. “He pulled it for Heath,” the source said.

The Oscar voters many not have agreed with the last-minute decision. But Wenner–who knows his way around the movie’s emotional terrain–has been a big fan of the cowboy-and-cowboy movie all along, according to Wenner Media sources. In a December 1 review, Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers gave the movie four stars. “Ledger’s magnificent performance is an acting miracle,” Travers wrote. “He seems to tear it from his insides.”

A Wenner source said Jann has also tried to pressure Us Weekly to cover Brokeback stars Ledger and wife Michelle Williams in the magazine.

–Gabriel Sherman