Ang Lee accepts the Oscar for Best Director from actor Michael Douglas at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Robyn Beck / AFP Photo
Ang Lee's epic Life of Pi was the biggest winner at the 85th Academy Awards, garnering four awards including Best Director. Liu Wei reports.
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Ang Lee's 3-D adaptation of Yann Martel's bestselling novel tells a spiritual fable about a boy's adventures on the ocean with a Bengal tiger as his only companion. This will be his third Oscar, after an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 and Best Director for Brokeback Mountain in 2005.
Few Chinese directors have achieved what Lee, 59, has in terms of both popular and critical acclaim.
In the 1990s, Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige made their names at European film festivals, but they later switched to commercial blockbusters after 2000, and have not produced impressive works as far as artistic achievements are concerned.
Lee's success can be attributed to both his own hard work and the Hollywood film industry, according to Ben Ji, a veteran producer.
"What Lee has been doing, and what most mainland directors have failed to do, is to always embrace new challenges, instead of staying within one's comfort zone," Ji says.
"While many Chinese filmmakers tend to work on a proven formula, Lee explores new genres and subjects all the time, many of which are very challenging, such as sexual liberation in The Ice Storm and homosexuality in Brokeback Mountain."
On the other hand, the sophisticated film industry in Hollywood has made it possible for such an innovative and ambitious filmmaker to exploit his talents.
He takes Life of Pi as an example.
Special: 85th Oscar