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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 08:59 GMT
Ang Lee's bold cinematic vision
Ang Lee

Taiwanese director Ang Lee has won the best director Oscar for his cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain.

Lee's latest movie follows his Oscar-winning martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, subtle social drama The Ice Storm and hit version of Sense and Sensibility.

He has had huge success on both sides of the Pacific, drawing on Asian and Western culture to convey universal stories of love, honour and family expectation.

Full profiles of the main Oscars contenders

The 51-year-old director started out in film in his early 20s after graduating from the National Taiwan College of Arts.

He went on to study theatre directing in the US at the University of Illinois, followed by film production at New York University.

Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Hulk (2003)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Ride with the Devil (1999)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
The Wedding Banquet (1993)
Pushing Hands (1992)
Lee won several awards for his student work but then spent six years in "development hell" until making his directorial debut in 1992 with Pushing Hands.

The Chinese-language comedy focuses on the cultural gulf between generations of a Taiwanese family in New York.

Well received in Lee's own country and in the US, its themes were an early pointer to Lee's future work.

The Wedding Banquet followed in 1993, featuring a young gay Taiwanese man in New York attempting to hide his sexuality from his parents with a sham marriage.

Lee's films often echo his problematic relationship with his own father, who had been disappointed when a teenage Lee failed his college entrance exams in Taiwan.

"The father always stands for the head of the old patriarchal society, the monopoly force that's facing a change in the modern world," the director told Christian Science Monitor in 1994.

English language debut

The Wedding Banquet won awards at the Berlin and Seattle film festivals, a Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.

Third movie Eat Drink Man Woman added food to the family theme and won Lee an Oscar nomination for best foreign film.

By the time of his fourth venture, Hollywood was calling. For his first English language film Lee chose to adapt Jane Austen's classic Sense and Sensibility in 1995.

Brokeback Mountain
Golden Globes
Winner for best director and best motion picture
Screen Actors Guild
Four nominations for Brokeback Mountain including:
Outstanding cast performance
Best male lead actor -
Heath Ledger
Directors Guild of America
One nomination for Brokeback Mountain:
Outstanding directorial achievement - Ang Lee
New York Film Critics Circle
Won three awards:
Best director - Ang Lee
Best film - Brokeback Mountain
Best actor - Heath Ledger
The movie starred upcoming actress Kate Winslet and the well-respected Emma Thompson - who also won an Oscar for her screenplay. It earned an Oscar nomination for best picture and three Bafta awards.

Lee followed it with an acclaimed adaptation of Rick Moody's novel The Ice Storm, with Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver and Christina Ricci and poorly-received civil war drama Ride with the Devil with Tobey Maguire.

However its high-action, high-drama concept spawned 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - a romantic tale with groundbreaking gravity-defying stunts - that won four Oscars including best foreign language film.

His comic book adaptation Hulk was less well-received in 2003 but Brokeback Mountain has confirmed Lee's reputation as one of the film world's most daring, innovative film makers.

Introducing the film at the 2003 Venice Film Festival, Lee said the gender of the film's protagonists - played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal - was not his main concern.

"What's important is that the material touches me at a gut level and I connect with it," he said. "I just wanted to make a love story."


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