Ang Lee won the Academy Award as best director Sunday for the cowboy romance "Brokeback Mountain," becoming the first Asian to win Hollywood's top honor for filmmakers.
Adept at genres from Westerns to historical romance to martial-arts pageants, Lee won his Oscar for a purely American story about two men tragically swept up in a gay romance that they conceal from their families for two decades.
Born in Taiwan, Lee first came to Hollywood's notice with the romantic charmers "The Wedding Banquet" and "Eat Drink Man Woman," which earned back-to-back Oscar nominations for foreign-language film for 1993 and '94.
Since then, Lee has been a chameleon. He made the Jane Austen costume romance "Sense and Sensibility," a best-picture nominee, the stark American drama "The Ice Storm," the Western "Ride With the Devil" and the martial-arts epic "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which won the Oscar for foreign-language film five years ago.
His "Crouching Tiger" follow-up was the comic-book adaptation "Hulk," an unusual commercial departure for the independent-minded director.
Lee joked about his commercial foray at Saturday's Independent Spirit Awards, where "Brokeback Mountain" won best picture and director. "Crouching Tiger" took the same prizes at the Spirit Awards five years earlier, reports the AP.
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