Ang Lee

  • Birth Name: Ang Lee
  • Birth Place: Pingtung, Taiwan
  • Profession: Director, Producer, Writer

Biography

An eclectic writer-director who has endured a turbulent showbiz career, Lee moved from his native Taiwan to the U.S. and studied filmmaking at NYU. After years of watching potential projects fall through, he won both first and second prizes in a Taiwanese screenwriting competition. Those scripts became his first two movies, 1992's Pushing Hands and 1993's international indie hit The Wedding Banquet. The next year, Lee broke through to the mainstream with the familial comedy Eat Drink Man Woman, which was nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar. Lee's subsequent projects were strikingly diverse. Although he had proven himself a masterful writer, he based several films on preexisting material, including adaptations of Jane Austen's 19th-century romance Sense and Sensibility and Rick Moody's examination of changing middle-class values The Ice Storm. Lee returned to his roots in 2000 for the fantastical Chinese martial-arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won a slew of Oscars and earned him a nod. But the underwhelming critical and commercial reaction to his next film, Hulk, depressed Lee so much that he considered quitting the business. Luckily, he persevered and went on to direct the groundbreaking gay-cowboy flick Brokeback Mountain.

Fast Facts

  • Failed his national university entrance exams in Taiwan.
  • Served as assistant director on Spike Lee's NYU student film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barber Shop: We Cut Heads.
  • His 1993 movie The Wedding Banquet became the first production from Taiwan to earn a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination.
  • Passed on an offer to direct Terminator 3.
  • Initially turned down directing Brokeback Mountain, then returned to it after doing Hulk.

Awards

  • 2000, Toronto International Film Festival — People's Choice Award: Winner
  • 1995, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Film not in the English Language: Nominee
  • 2001, BAFTA Film Awards — The David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction: Winner
  • 1996, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Film: Winner
  • 2008, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Film not in the English Language: Nominee
  • 1996, Golden Globe — Best Director - Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2001, Golden Globe — Best Director - Motion Picture: Winner
  • 2006, Golden Globe — Best Director - Motion Picture: Winner
  • 2012, Oscar — Best Motion Picture of the Year: Nominee
  • 2013, David di Donatello Awards — Best Foreign Film: Nominee
  • 2005, Oscar — Best Achievement in Directing: Winner
  • 2000, Oscar — Best Achievement in Directing: Nominee
  • 2000, Oscar — Best Motion Picture of the Year: Nominee
  • 2007, Venice Film Festival — Best Film: Winner
  • 2006, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Director: Winner
  • 2006, BAFTA Film Awards — The David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction: Winner
  • 2001, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Film: Nominee
  • 2001, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Film not in the English Language: Winner
  • 1996, BAFTA Film Awards — The David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction: Nominee
  • 2013, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Film: Nominee
  • 2006, David di Donatello Awards — Best Foreign Film: Nominee
  • 2013, Golden Globe — Best Director - Motion Picture: Nominee
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  • 1996, Berlin Film Festival — Golden Bear: Winner
  • 2001, Australian Film Institute Awards — Best Foreign Film: Winner
  • 1998, Australian Film Institute Awards — Best Foreign Film: Nominee
  • 2013, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Director: Nominee
  • 2000, Directors Guild of America Awards — Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: Winner
  • 1994, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Director: Nominee
  • 2005, Directors Guild of America Awards — Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: Winner
  • 2012, Directors Guild of America Awards — Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: Nominee
  • 1994, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
  • 2001, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Director: Winner
  • 2013, Critics' Choice Movie Awards — Best Director: Nominee
  • 1994, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Feature: Nominee
  • 1995, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Director: Nominee
  • 2001, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Feature: Winner
  • 1995, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
  • 1995, Directors Guild of America Awards — Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film: Nominee
  • 2013, Producers Guild Awards — Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures: Nominee
  • 2012, Oscar — Best Achievement in Directing: Winner
  • 1993, Berlin Film Festival — Golden Bear: Winner
  • 2006, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Director: Winner

Relationships

  • Lee Yangsi — Mother
  • Jane Lin — Wife
  • Mason Lee — Son
  • Han Lee — Son

College

  • Attended Taiwan Academy of Art, Taipei, Taiwan; University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, United States (BFA in Theatre, 1980); New York University, New York, New York, United States (MFA in Film, 1984)
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