Ang Lee (李安) won Best Director for "Life of Pi" at the 85th Oscar Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
Ang Lee, an internationally acclaimed film director, has filmed a number of award-winning works, including “Eat Drink Man Woman,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Lust, Caution.”
Born in 1954 in Taiwan, Lee was brought up in a traditional Chinese family. Under heavy family influence, Lee developed a deep understanding of Eastern culture. He studied in the U.S. at the University of Illinois in 1979, four years after graduating from National Taiwan University of Arts. In 1980, he received his bachelor’s degree in theater and continued his studies at New York University. He graduated in 1984 after producing a 43-minute drama, “Fine Line,” as his thesis, which won NYU’s Wasserman Award for Outstanding Direction. During his time at NYU, he also helped film Spike Lee’s “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.”
Lee remained in the U.S. after graduation, unemployed and relying on his wife, Jane Lin, a molecular biologist, to provide for their family of four. Six years later, he submitted the screenplay for a comedy, “Pushing Hands,” to Taiwanese authorities. They offered him a hefty sum for the screenplay and the chance to direct the film, which won Golden Horse awards for best actor, actress and director.
With his newfound fame, Lee directed “The Wedding Banquet,” a film about a family whose members had different cultural backgrounds. The film was a critical success, winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. The following years saw consecutive successes in “Sense and Sensibility,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Lust, Caution.”
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” enthralled Western audiences with its martial arts sequences and philosophical script. It went on to win Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and three other technical awards.
“Brokeback Mountain,” which sparked controversy with its exploration of homosexuality, was one of the most acclaimed films of 2005, winning 71 awards and an additional 52 nominations. The film helped Lee to become the first non-white to win the Oscar for Best Director.
“Lust, Caution” received the Golden Lion from the 2007 Biennale Venice Film Festival, despite its controversial sex scenes. The film also made mainland actress Tang Wei famous overnight.
Lee entered a new era in his own career in 2012 with the "Life of Pi," -- a 3D film based on the 2001 brain-twisting novel of the same title by Yann Martel, whihc tells the story of Pi, a 16-year-old Indian boy and the sole survivor of a sinking freighter, who finds himself on a lifeboat headed for an epic adventure with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
"Lif of Pi" was nominated in 11 categories for the 85th Academy Awards on Jan. 10, 2013, including the best picture and the best director.
Lee won Best Director for "Life of Pi" at the 85th Oscar Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California.