Ang Lee's gay cowboy film Brokeback Mountain has won the coveted Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Ang Lee is the maker of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
The film is adapted from a story by E Annie Proulx and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger as cowboys whose secret love affair spans 20 years.
Lee beat off competition from 18 other films, including George Clooney's favoured Good Night, and Good Luck.
Lee, maker of Oscar nominee Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has won a global reputation as an eclectic film-maker.
The Taiwan-born director's other films include the comic book blockbuster The Hulk, released last year, and Sense and Sensibility, an adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel.
George Clooney's film Good Night, and Good Luck had been the hot favourite among film critics to take the Golden Lion on the last night of the annual 11-day festival.
George Clooney (l) saw his film's star David Strathairn win best actor
The McCarthy-era film, directed by and featuring Clooney, won best screenplay for Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov.
Its star David Strathairn won the best actor prize for his portrayal of journalist Edward R Murrow.
The award for best actress went to Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno for her role in the movie La Bestia nel Cuore, a tale of adult siblings scarred by child abuse.
She beat off competition from French star Isabelle Huppert in Gabrielle, and Gwyneth Paltrow, star of the film Proof.
However, Huppert was awarded a special Lion for her outstanding contribution to cinema.
Italian star Giovanna Mezzogiorno won the award for best actress
US director Abel Ferrara won the Jury Grand Prix for Mary, starring Juliette Binoche as an actress haunted by the figure of Mary Magdalene after having played her on screen.
France's Philippe Garrel won the Silver Lion prize for best director with his Les Amants Reguliers, a story of love in bohemian Paris after the May 1968 riots.
The film's photographer William Lubtchanski also took the trophy for outstanding technical contribution.
The Marcello Mastroianni award for the best young actor or actress went to Menothy Cesar for Heading South.
On Friday, Japan's Hayao Miyazaki was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the festival.
The festival finale was marked by a screening of Hong Kong director Peter Chan Ho-sun's Perhaps Love, a rare Chinese musical starring some of Asia's biggest names, including Jacky Cheung and Takeshi Kaneshiro.