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As director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee received the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. Based on a novel by Du Lu Wang, that film won 3 additional Academy Awards – Best Cinematography (Peter Pau), Best Original Score (Tan Dun), and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (Tim Yip) – and was nominated for 6 more, including Best Picture and Best Director. Mr. Lee won the Directors Guild of America, BAFTA, and Golden Globe Awards for Best Director, among other honors.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Mr. Lee moved to the United States in 1978. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre from the University of Illinois, he went to New York University to complete a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in film production. His short film Fine Line won Best Director and Best Film awards at the annual NYU Film Festival.
His first feature film, Pushing Hands, was screened at the 1992 Berlin International Film Festival and won Best Film at the Asian-Pacific Film Festival. The film was also nominated for 9 Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan's equivalent of the Academy Award).
Pushing Hands was also the first film in his "Father Knows Best" trilogy, all of which starred actor Sihung Lung. The next film in the trilogy, The Wedding Banquet, premiered at the 1993 Berlin International Film Festival. It won the top prize (the Golden Bear) there and subsequently opened to international acclaim. The film was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, and received 6 Independent Spirit Award nominations.
Mr. Lee capped the trilogy with Eat Drink Man Woman, which was selected as the opening night feature for the Directors Fortnight section of the 1994 Cannes International Film Festival. Named Best Foreign-Language Film by the National Board of Review, the film was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, and received 6 Independent Spirit Award nominations.
In 1995, Mr. Lee directed Sense and Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. The film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won for Best Adapted Screenplay (Emma Thompson, from the Jane Austen novel). Sense and Sensibility also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture [Drama] and Best Screenplay; was named Best Picture by BAFTA, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the National Board of Review; and won the top prize (the Golden Bear) at the 1996 Berlin International Film Festival. Mr. Lee was cited as Best Director by the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, and the Boston Society of Film Critics.
He next directed The Ice Storm, adapted by James Schamus from Rick Moody's novel, and starring Joan Allen, Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci, and Tobey Maguire. The film premiered at the 1997 Cannes International Film Festival (where it won the Best Screenplay award), and was selected as the opening night feature for the 1997 New York Film Festival. For her performance in the film, Sigourney Weaver won a BAFTA Award, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, for Best Supporting Actress.
Mr. Lee's subsequent films were Ride with the Devil (adapted by James Schamus from Daniel Woodrell's novel, and reteaming the director with actor Tobey Maguire); the aforementioned Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and the boxoffice hit The Hulk (starring Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly).