ANG LEE, Taiwanese-born director born; Lee decided to take on a small-budget, low-profile independent film based on Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer Prize-finalist short story originally published in The New Yorker, Brokeback Mountain. In a 2005 article by Robert K. Elder, Lee was quoted as saying, “What do I know about Gay ranch hands in Wyoming?” In spite of the director’s removal from the subject at hand Brokeback Mountain showcased Lee’s skills in probing depths of the human heart.
The 2005 movie about the forbidden love between two Wyoming cowboys immediately caught public attention and initiated intense debates. The film was critically acclaimed at major international film festivals and won Lee numerous Best Director and Best Film awards worldwide. In addition, “Brokeback” became a cultural phenomenon and a box office hit. “Brokeback” was nominated for a leading eight Oscars and was the front-runner for Best Picture heading into the March 5 ceremony, but lost out to Crash, a story about race relations in Los Angeles, in a controversial upset. There was speculation that the film’s depiction of homosexuality might have been the reason for that upset, while others speculate that Crash was simply a better movie. Lee said he was disappointed that his film did not win Best Picture, but was honored to win Best Director, becoming the first Asian to ever win the award.