Date of Birth: October 23, 1954
Born and raised in Pingtung, Taiwan, Lee moved to the United States in 1978. After receiving a BFA in theater from the University of Illinois, he went on to New York University to complete an MFA in film production. At NYU, his short film Fine Line won Best Director and Best Film Awards at the NYU Film Festival.
He also worked on Spike Lee's acclaimed student film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. Lee spent the next six years working on screenplays, eventually making his directorial debut in 1992 with Pushing Hands.
Screened at the 1992 Berlin Film Festival, Pushing Hands won Best Film at the Asian-Pacific Film Festival and was nominated for nine Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan's Oscar equivalent), winning three. Lee followed this film with 1993's The Wedding Banquet, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film also received six Independent Spirit Award nominations and five Golden Horse Awards, including Best Film and Best Director.
Following this success, Lee ventured into the world of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking with Sense and Sensibility in 1995. A fairly faithful adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, the film proved another success for the director, earning a Best Picture Oscar nomination, a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and a number of British Academy Awards.
Lee next directed 1997's The Ice Storm, adapted from Rick Moody's novel. The film starred Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci and Tobey Maguire. It premiered at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival; was selected as the opening-night film of the 1997 New York Film Festival and went on to become one of the year's best-reviewed films.
Having secured a place on Hollywood's roster of A-list directors, Lee next tried his hand at Civil War drama with Ride with the Devil (1999), followed by the action film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The latter film, set in early 19th-century China, tracks the adventures of two women: one, an aristocrat who doubles as an elusive criminal; the other, an unbeatable female warrior. With new kinds of special effects and a deep story line, the film became even more popular with viewers, sneeking up the movie listings as it opened in more and more theatres. At the 2001 Golden Globes, Lee won two awards for his efforts, one for Best Director and the other for Best Foreign Film.
He continues to try new things such as Brokeback Mountain (2005), a gay love story about two cowboys that received a the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. He earned a second Golden Globe for his work on the controversial film and his first Academy Award, for Best Achievement in Directing. He took on the task of bringing a bestselling novel to life on the big screen with 2012's Life of Pi. His hard work paid off when the film earned 11 Academy Award nominations and won him a second Oscar for his direction. He then directed an ensemble cast including Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, and Joe Alwyn in the war drama Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016).
His most recent film, Gemini Man (2019), stars Will Smith.
Lee has two sons with his wife, Jane Lin.
Thrilla in Manila (2018)
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016)
Life of Pi (2012)
Taking Woodstock (2009)
Lust, Caution (2007)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The Hulk (2003)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Ride with the Devil (1999)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
The Wedding Banquet (1993)
Pushing Hands (1992)