Ang Lee Thanks Taiwan and China for “Life of Pi’s” Oscar Win

Ang Lee (李安) beat out strong contenders such as Steven Spielberg and won Best Director for Life of Pi <少年PI的奇幻漂流> at the 85th Annual Oscars Awards which took place on Sunday, February 24. The humble director paid special thanks to Taiwan, for which he credited their tremendous support during filming. In honor of the director, Taiwan also proudly displayed Ang Lee’s name in bright lights on Taipei 101, the City’s iconic commercial building.

Nominated for 11 awards at the 85th Academy Awards, Life of Pi also won awards for Best Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Original Score. After 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee won his second Best Director Oscar last night.

During his Oscar acceptance speech, the soft spoken Ang Lee said, “Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, movie god. I really need to share this with all 3,000 people, everyone who worked with me on Life of Pi. I cannot make this movie without the help of Taiwan. We shot there. I want to thank everybody who had helped us. Especially the city of Tai Chong. My Indian crew, I love you. My Canadian crew, I love you. My family in Taiwan. My wife, Jane Lin. We’ll be married 30 years this summer. I love you. My boys, Han and Mason, thank you for your support. Finally, my agent, Carin Sage and lawyer, Ira Schreck, and Joe Dapello, I have to do that. Especially for this movie, it’s great to have your support. Thank you, the Academy. Xie xie, namaste.”

Many of Ang’s fans in Taiwan were touched by his words and expressed gratitude that the famous director, who chose to film Life of Pi in Taiwan, did not forget his mother country.

Sisy Chen (陳文茜), famed reporter from Taiwan, also praised Ang for acknowledging Taiwan’s contribution to Life of Pi on her blog. “His acceptance speech touched the hearts of many Taiwanese citizens. He knows that Tai Chong is just a small city and even though his director’s dreams are completed in the United States, he never forgot his roots in Asia. Although he has crossed many borders, he never forgot where he is from and is able to relate back to Taiwan!”

Aside from his gratitude towards Taiwan, Ang hoped to fly to mainland China to personally thank local audiences for their support. More than 85 percent of Li of Pi’s total box office receipts were generated outside of the United States, with mainland Chinese box office sales especially strong.

Winning both critics and box office sales, Ang Lee is currently one of the highest sought after directors in the United States and mainland China. Ang was invited to direct Angelina Jolie’s Cleopatra and numerous mainland projects, but he has not decided what his next film will be yet.


This article is written by Natalie for

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  1. Mr Lee, DO NOT DIRECT CLEOPETRA! Bound for disaster!

    Anyway was so surprised he won and a well deserved win! Life of Pi should have been best film AND the older Pi in the movie should have been nominated as well. He looked visibly shocked. Me too. I thought Spielberg will win since Spielberg looked a bit disappointed too but at the end of the day Lincoln has fantastic actors but boring direction. Very very happy!

    1. And it was funny that he even thanked his lawyers. Usually the actors and directors stopped at agents but he thanked his lawyers too. That was a cool moment.

      1. ”Seem everybody could get a few easy Oscars these days, Were disappointing watching Ang’s Pi, Steven Spielberg is a legend in comparison on a completely different level. ”Lincoln were boring in deed but eventful”

    2. Wasn’t surprise. In fact he was my favorite to win which was why I was a bit irked by the reports from various news agency that this was one of the huge upset of the night. Is this because he is the only Asian among the nominees?

      Spielberg was never in the running for me. As you said Funn, Lincoln is nothing to shout about directorial-wise, Spielberg can practically let the movie drive itself with those big caliber actors and he sort of did so which can be seen from the ‘boring’ directing.

      Imo, Life of Pi was a masterpiece of blending both technical and ’emotional’ directing and not many directors are able to adapt the movie from its source material and make it accessible with the wondrous 3D special effects that for once serves as an organic backdrop to enhance and advance the story.

      Only Cameron’s Avatar could match it in terms of the technicality but Avatar imo lacks the human heart at the core of Life of Pi.

      And although the other nominees were giants in their own rights none came close to match Ang Lee’s achievement with their nominated movies from a directorial standpoint.

      I for one am for Ang Lee to direct Cleopatra. Very interested to see where he chooses to go with the movie. He has done wonders for his previous directorial efforts i.e. The Hulk, The Ice Storm, Brokeback Mountain, Lust/Caution and Life of Pi with surprising results. I think he can bring a refreshing approach to Cleopatra if he decides to make the movie.

      1. Please don’t make everything into racial issue. Whilst everyone has his or her favourites, it is well known Steven Spielberg was expected to win when Ben Affleck himself was snubbed. Everyone appreciates Ang Lee but it is a fact that it was an upset but to me a well deserved upset.

      2. Everything? When did you ever see me posting EVERYTHING as racial issue here? I was reporting things as I see it and raising a perfectly logical question. He is the only Asian up for the Director prize that night or am I wrong?

        If it has been another director other than Ang Lee and not Spielberg will there be such a broo ha ha over it being a HUGE upset?

        And fyi, Spielberg is never a lock-in for the prize ESPECIALLY because of the snub for Affleck which resulted in a backlash for Lincoln. David O’ Russell and Michael Hanake were even regarded as being clear front runners to win over Spielberg by critics and insiders because of the backlash.

      3. That question itself takes the shine away from the award he won. So by winning means to appease the potential racial backlash as you pointed out? I have read many articles and never did I come across one who points out his race so 1 report doesn’t make it a valid claim at all. But the Lincoln film is what I read.

        So what’s next? Denzel lost and he is black and will that be an issue? It is a non issue, not even in the reports. It is like the backlash from China someone mentioned, something so insignificant, so ridiculous. Yes he is the only Asian, so what? He has won before, he has lost before and I didn’t see such reports then.

        It was a HUGE upset not because he is Asian, it was a HUGE upset because someone else was expected to win. Same as in the supporting actor category. No one seems to point out Christoph Waltz won because he is the only German in the list? And that is because he is by default white.

        That’s why I say not everything is about race. The upset is because he wasn’t expected to win and by his expression he thought so too.

  2. Life of Pi was the dark horse at the Oscars and I was very happily surprised that he won!

  3. i loved his acceptance speech, very sincere and well deserved. his wife’s reaction was cute but a little too animated :).

    1. I know but he is always like that. Sincere, real and no fuss or showy in any way.

  4. Always respect Ang Lee not because he is genius , his humbleness

  5. Congrats to Ang Lee. I hope he won’t work with that Angelina Jolie. She has a reputation.

  6. Wonderful. In fact, this movie does not have big shots nor violence that we normally see in hollywood movies. The story really touches the heary of the audiences in a sweet innocent way. So happy that he wins. This is what I call genius!

  7. Ya while he wins. .the company responsible for those amazing graphics filed for bankruptcy. Hollywood never ceases to amaze me.

  8. Director Lee thanked Taiwan in his speech, but not China. I listen to 陶傑’s radio show, and in a recent episode, he talked about how president Hu Jintao criticized Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”, and how some Chinese people see him as a “traitor director”. If interested, check out:
    (at 14:36)

  9. “…and how some Chinese people see him as a “traitor director”.”

    That’s SOME, but not ALL Chinese people. Most are certainly proud of him.

    1. Of course, it’s just some. I just wanted to mention this piece of news I found out recently. I’m also proud of him. 陶傑 was talking about if this is a reason for Ang Lee to not mention “China” or “Chinese” in his speech.

      1. He is from Taiwan AND China may not have contributed anything to his production so why should he thank China? Why make something simple into politics? He did say Taiwan because he filmed there.

      2. Because some people, 陶傑 for example, likes to pull in politics when analyzing something. It seems like making something simple to complicated, but it was an interesting perspective that 陶傑 brought up. Taiwan indeed helped out a lot in the film production.

  10. Taiwanese belong to Taiwan(free China), not belong to damn communist china……..

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