Tag Archives: Ang Lee

Filmmaker Ang Lee to be honoured with BAFTA Fellowship at the 74th EE British Academy Film Awards on April 11

Ang Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Ang Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

 The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will honour multiple BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Ang Lee with the Fellowship at the 74th EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, April 11 on BBC One.

Lee is one of the world’s most pioneering and revered contemporary filmmakers whose ground-breaking films are highly acclaimed spanning multiple genres throughout his producing, writing and directing career.

Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, games or television. Fellows previously honoured for their work in film include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee, Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker, Helen Mirren, Sidney Poitier, Mel Brooks, Sir Ridley Scott and Thelma Schoonmaker. Kathleen Kennedy received the Fellowship at last year’s Film Awards.

He first rose to prominence in the 1990s with his Taiwanese Father Knows Best comedy trilogy consisting of Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman, all of which he co-wrote, produced and directed.

These films received acclaim in the US and internationally, with The Wedding Banquet winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival as well as being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars® and the latter leading to his first BAFTA nomination for Film Not in the English Language in 1995.

The following year, his first English language film, Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant received major accolades including his first BAFTA Film Award for Best Film and another Berlin Golden Bear.

In 2000, Lee produced and directed the martial arts action-adventure Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, one of his most critically acclaimed cinematic masterpieces. The film dazzled global audiences, grossing over $213 million worldwide and holds the record for the highest grossing foreign language film in US history. The film was nominated for 14 BAFTA Film Awards and 10 Oscars®, winning four at each ceremony including a BAFTA for Director and Film not in the English Language and an Oscar® for Foreign Language Film.

Five years later, Lee was back on the global stage with his ground-breaking LGBTQ+ love story Brokeback Mountain starring Jake Gyllenhaal the late Heath Ledger. The film struck a chord with critics and audiences alike and was a turning point for queer cinema breaking into the mainstream. The film garnered nine BAFTA nominations and won four: Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actor in a Supporting Role. He also won Best Director at the Oscars®.

Lee once again broke new ground with the visually stunning 3D CGI epic Life of Pi, pushing the limits of technology and storytelling to deliver an emotionally resonant tale about a teenage boy lost at sea with a fearsome Bengal tiger. His most successful film to date, the film grossed over $600 million worldwide and garnered further awards recognition: nine BAFTA Film Award nominations and a Children’s BAFTA win for Feature Film in 2013 as well as another Oscar® for Best Director.

His other directing credits include Lust, Caution, Taking Woodstock, Hulk, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and most recently, Gemini Man.

Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee said: “Ang Lee is a master of his craft.  He is an incredibly versatile, daring and exceptional filmmaker who effortlessly moves between genres.  His films have been truly ground-breaking both in terms of their technical expertise and for the subject matters he tackles. His pioneering work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi and so many other titles not only showcase his technical ability and deep understanding of the filmmaking process, but also his ability to infuse every story – no matter how epic or simple – with humanizing characters we can all relate to on an emotional level through his exceptional work. We are thrilled to present him with BAFTA’s highest honour.” 

Ang Lee commented: “England has been particularly good to me in my career, especially with Sense and Sensibility, which was like a second film school for me. It’s a tremendous honour to receive the Bafta Academy Fellowship and be counted among such brilliant filmmakers.”

This year, the EE BAFTA Film Awards will be celebrated across the weekend of April 10-11.  Two shows, recognising the very best in film, will be broadcast virtually from London’s Royal Albert Hall. The first show, celebrating the craft of film, will be broadcast on Saturday, April 10 on BBC Two and BBC Two HD.  The show on Sunday, April 11 will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD. Both programmes will be broadcast in all major territories around the world. 

About BAFTA

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.

PRI.org: Ang Lee and George Takei signed the letter, but here’s who wrote it

Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang
Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang

PRI.org: Ang Lee and George Takei signed the letter, but here’s who wrote it

“The heavily circulated letter was signed by 25 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including director Ang Lee, actors Sandra Oh and George Takei. It was a protest of the tone-deaf Asian jokes at this year’s Oscars ceremony — but it wasn’t meant to be an open letter.

“It was a private message to our friends and our colleagues in the organization,” says Freida Lee Mock, the chair of the Academy’s Documentary Executive Committee, who penned the first draft.

But none of the signatories seem too bothered that it was leaked to the press, first reported by Variety and then rebounding around the Internet earlier this week. It wasn’t until the letter became public that CEO Dawn Hudson issued a swift apology. And it wasn’t until George Takei called the apology “patronizing” and “a bland, corporate response” that Hudson scheduled a future meeting with these 25 members to show them that the Academy leaders were serious about these issues.

This was the first time in recent history that a grassroots collaboration like this amongst Asian Americans has happened within the Academy. The organization is divided into branches based on craft — for actors, directors, executives, etc. — and for the most part, members work within their lanes. Long-time Academy members Mock and documentarian Arthur Dong have been involved in numerous campaigns for documentary films. They successfully lobbied for the documentary branch of the Academy and Mock was voted the first governor. Dong joined her in a leadership position soon after. In the ’90s, when there was an attempt to get rid of the Academy Award for Documentary Short, they helped rally people like Steven Spielberg to get the decision unanimously overturned.

But they’ve never had to band together by ethnicity, because before this year’s Oscars ceremony, there was no need.

Moments after Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs took the stage to speak about the importance of diversity at this year’s ceremony, Oscars host Chris Rock brought out three Asian American children to make a child labor joke. Later in the night, presenter Sasha Baron Cohen delighted in cracking an Asian penis joke.”

“It hit me in gut,” says Dong, now a film professor at Loyola Marymount University. He was watching the Oscars with his 11-year-old son. “I just thought, ‘This is our organization. We understand the process and how decisions are made, so how could this have happened?'”

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Variety: Ang Lee, Other Asian Oscar Winners Protest ‘Racist Stereotypes’ to Academy

Ang Lee, Other Asian Oscar Winners Protest ‘Racist Stereotypes’ to Academy

UPDATED: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences apologized on Tuesday for the Asian jokes on the Feb. 28 Oscar telecast, after receiving a protest letter signed by 25 AMPAS members, including Ang Lee.

Ang Lee. Photo by Lia Chang
Ang Lee. Photo by Lia Chang

An Academy spokesperson issued the statement, “The Academy appreciates the concerns stated, and regrets that any aspect of the Oscar telecast was offensive. We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future shows be more culturally sensitive.” 

The letter asked for “concrete steps” to ensure that future Oscarcasts will avoid the “tone-deaf approach” to Asians that was exhibited last month. The protest was delivered in advance of today’s board meeting, where the Oscar show and issues of diversity are undoubtedly on the agenda. The missive was sent to the board, AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson, and ceremony producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill.

Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang
Award-winning author and filmmaker Arthur Dong. Photo by Lia Chang

Here is the letter:

March 9, 2016
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President
Dawn Hudson, CEO
Members of the Board of Governors
Reginald Hudlin and David Hill, Oscars® Producers
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Dear Cheryl, Dawn, Members of the Board of Governors, Reginald and David:

We are writing as Academy members of Asian descent to express our complete surprise and
disappointment with the targeting of Asians at the 88th Oscars telecast and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes.

In light of criticism over #OscarsSoWhite, we were hopeful that the telecast would provide the Academy a way forward and the chance to present a spectacular example of inclusion and diversity.

Instead, the Oscars show was marred by a tone-deaf approach to its portrayal of Asians.
We’d like to know how such tasteless and offensive skits could have happened and what process you have in place to preclude such unconscious or outright bias and racism toward any group in future Oscars telecasts.

We look forward to hearing from you about this matter and about the concrete steps to ensure that all people are portrayed with dignity and respect.

We are proud that the Oscars reach several hundred million people around the world of whom 60% are Asians and potential moviegoers.

Sincerely,
Don Hall, Sound Branch, John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, Academy Governor, 18 years
Freida Lee Mock, Documentary Branch, Academy Award@ winner, Academy Governor, 6 years
Arthur Dong, Documentary Branch, Academy Award@ nominee, Academy Governor, 4 years
Ang Lee, Directors Branch, Two-time Academy Award@ winner
Chris Tashima, Shorts and Feature Animation Branch, Academy Award@ winner
Christine Choy, Documentary Branch, Academy Award@ nominee
David Magdael, Public Relations Branch
France Nuyen, Actors Branch
George Takei, Actors Branch
Janet Yang, Producers Branch
Jessica Yu, Documentary Branch, Academy Award winner@
Jodi Long, Actors Branch
Laura Kim, Public Relations Branch
Marcus Hu, Executives Branch
Maysie Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Nancy Kwan, Actors Branch
Peter Kwong, Actors Branch
Renee Tajima-Peña, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® nominee
Rithy Panh, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® nominee
Ruby Yang, Documentary Branch, Academy Award@ winner
Sandra Oh, Actors Branch
Steven Okazaki, Documentary Branch, Academy Award® winner
Teddy Zee, Executives Branch
William Hoy, Film Editors Branch
Yung Chang, Documentary Branch

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