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Ang Lee

Director/Producer

Taiwan-born Ang Lee is one of the world’s most revered and honored film directors. He has won 2 Academy Awards (in 2006, for his Direction of Brokeback Mountain, and in 2001, for Best Foreign-Language Film for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). His films have twice won the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the Venice International Film Festival (in 2007, for Lust, Caution, and in 2005, for Brokeback Mountain) and twice won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival (in 1993, for The Wedding Banquet and in 1996, for Sense and Sensibility). His most recent film, Lust, Caution, swept Asia’s Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan’s equivalent of the Academy Awards), with 8 wins including Best Film; it is one of the highest-grossing and most critically acclaimed films in the history of Chinese-language cinema.

Brokeback Mountain won 2 additional Academy Awards – Best Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana) and Best Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla) – and was nominated for 5 more, including Best Picture. Mr. Lee also won the Directors Guild of America, BAFTA, Independent Spirit, and Golden Globe Awards for Best Director, among other industry accolades. The film won 3 additional Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture [Drama]; the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature; 3 additional BAFTA Awards, including Best Film; and the Golden Lion Award, for Best Picture, at the 2005 Venice International Film Festival, among awards all over the world.

Additionally, Mr. Lee and the film’s star Jake Gyllenhaal were honored with the Human Rights Campaign Equality Award; and Brokeback Mountain was named Outstanding Film [Wide Release] by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) Media Awards.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, based on a novel by Du Lu Wang, 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.

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.

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, opened following its Berlin premiere and prize 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, he 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; and was named Best Picture by BAFTA, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the National Board of Review. 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.

Mr. Lee 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, again starring Tobey Maguire); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; the boxoffice hit The Hulk (starring Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly); and, for Focus Features, Brokeback Mountain and Lust, Caution.

In addition to the Venice prize, the latter film’s other honors included Independent Spirit Award nominations for lead actors Tony Leung and Tang Wei; Ms. Tang also earned a BAFTA Award nomination. The film was a nominee in the Foreign-Language Film category from both the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards.