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Ang Lee Wins Best Director Oscar
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Director Ang Lee scooped the Best Director Oscar for his cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain at the 78th Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

Adept at working with different genres ranging from kung fu to Western history, Lee won his Oscar for a love story between two sheepherders, a relationship they kept secret for 25 years.

The film also collected the Oscar for Original Score and Adapted Screenplay. Lee also won this year's Best Director Golden Globe Award. On Saturday, the movie was Best Film at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Born in 1954 in Taiwan, Lee graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts before leaving for the US where he studied theater directing at the University of Illinois, and film production at New York University.

In 1992, Lee made his directorial debut with Pushing Hands, a story about a retired tai chi master who has a difficult relationship with his American daughter-in-law in New York. His next two films, The Wedding Banquet (1993), and Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (1994) earned back-to-back Oscar nominations for best foreign language film.

Lee then widened his international popularity with Sense and Sensibility in 1995, which won him a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. The Ice Storm (1997) earned Lee the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival that same year.

But it was martial arts blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) that cemented Lee's position as Hollywood big-name. The film earned four Oscars including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography.

Hong Kong director John Woo and mainland actress Zhang Ziyi, two jury members at this year's Oscars, both picked Brokeback Mountain as their favorite.

"Shooting such an edgy theme on low budget really takes courage," Woo said.

"I try my best and maybe I have the talent. I devote more attention to my Western films. When you devote your heart and soul, language doesn't matter," Lee said, explaining how he defies cultural differences to succeed.

"I was tired out after shooting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Hulk, and I even thought about giving up.... It was Brokeback Mountain that made me understand, organize and make plans for my life," Lee said.

Ang Lee's Filmography

Pushing Hands (1992)
The Wedding Banquet (1993)
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (1994)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Ride with the Devil (1999)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
The Hulk (2003)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)

( by Li Xiao, March 6, 2006)

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