LOS ANGELES, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Taiwanese-born Ang Lee won
his second Oscar for Best Directing on Sunday for "Life of Pi,"
the adaption of Yann Martel's fantasy adventure novel about an
Indian boy who survives a shipwreck but is stranded in a
lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
"Life of Pi" was nominated for 11 Oscars - including Best
Picture - and also won for Cinematography, Original Score and
Visual Effects. Starring newcomer Suraj Sharma, the film was
lauded by critics for Lee's ability to bring the complex book to
"Thank you movie god," Lee said to a big laugh from the
"I really need to share this with all 3,000 - everybody who
worked with me on 'Life of Pi'," he said.
Lee won in a year in which the director's race was one of
the most controversial for its exclusions, most notably Ben
Affleck, the director of "Argo" who picked up the top award from
his peers at the Directors Guild and a slew of other awards.
Lee, 58, won his first Academy Award in 2006 for directing
"Brokeback Mountain," the story of a complex love affair between
He began directing Chinese-language films and has made 13
films in a diverse career. Those films have included the special
effects-laden "Hulk" based on a Marvel comic Book and the
adaption of Jane Austen's classic, "Sense and Sensibility."
His 2000 Chinese-language film "Crouching Dragon, Hidden
Tiger," won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and
was a surprise hit with worldwide ticket sales of $213.5
Lee came to Hollywood's attention after directing three
Chinese-language films, including "The Wedding Banquet" in 1993,
nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Lee cast Sharma, then a 17-year old student, for the role of
a young Pi Patel in 2010 after 3,000 young men auditioned for
the lead role.
After his family goes down in the giant ship, Pi spends most
of the film on the lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific, trying
to avoid being consumed by the 450-pound (200-kg) tiger, a
premise that Lee pulled off with heavy reliance on special
effects and a digital tiger. The ocean scenes were filmed in a
1.7-million-gallon (6.4-million-liter) tank.
Movie reviewer critic Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4
stars, calling it "a miraculous achievement of storytelling and
a landmark of visual mastery."
President Barack Obama also gave "Life of Pi" a thumbs up in
an interview with People Magazine, saying the film "was good -
because we had read that book together."