Director Ang Lees Oscar Makes Splash in Taiwan

March 5, 2006: Academy Award winning director Ang Lee. Photo: RFA.

LOS ANGELES—Taiwan-born director Ang Lee, whose “Brokeback Mountain” scooped the Oscar for best director at the 78th annual Academy Awards, says he was "disappointed" that the movie didn’t make best picture but was happy with its impact so far.

“It has been a year for 'Brokeback Mountain',” Lee told RFA Mandarin service reporter Xiao Rong. “ The movie, the box office, and the social and cultural influence the movie has enjoyed all speak loudly.”

I feel I deserve the honor. I think my time has come…I've always wanted to make good movies.

“Of course, I am a little disappointed—a little surprised—that the movie did not win the best-picture honor,” added Lee, who is the first Asian director to win the coveted award.

The racial drama "Crash" topped Lee’s gay cowboy romance, the former favorite, at the post Sunday, garnering the best picture Oscar.

Congratulated by president

But Lee said he was happy about the award all the same. “I feel I deserve the honor. I think my time has come…I've always wanted to make good movies. That's how I learn from life.”

“That's how I communicate with the audience and with other human beings. It's my destiny, and my way of life. I am blessed that I have been given the opportunity,” he said.

Lee has been lauded for his success in his native Taiwan, where President Chen Shui-bian has congratulated him and the media have reveled in his status as the first Asian director to scoop the best director award.

“It’s wonderful that he has won this award. I just hope he is taking care of himself,” Lee’s mother told RFA reporter Hu Hanqiang in Taipei.

“The only sad thing is that Lee’s father is not around to see this success. Because he always encouraged him to do this, and yet he never saw it realized. That is very sad for me.”

Political tug-of-war over honor

Political opinions varied on just how to rate the kudos generated by Ang Lee, who currently makes New York his home.

While President Chen said Lee’s Oscar contributed to the glory of Taiwan, opposition Kuomintang party chairman and Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou said it was a glorious moment for Asians.

Meanwhile, KMT honorary chairman and failed presidential candidate Lien Chan hailed Lee’s award as a victory for Chinese people the world over.

Original reporting in Chinese by Xiao Rong and Hu Hanqiang. RFA Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Translated and written for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.


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