Ang Lee wins Best Director for Life of Pi
Taiwanese-American Ang Lee beat master directors like Steven Spielberg and Michael Haneke to take home the best director Oscar for Life of Pi, his visually stunning 3D tale of an Indian boy adrift in the ocean for months with a Bengal tiger.
With his second Oscar win, Lee brings focus back to India, whose culture and ethos are an important part of the narrative and unlike previous Academy-winner Slumdog Millionaire which earned some brickbats for promoting slum porn, Lee has presented Pondicherry and Munnar beautifully through his 3D lenses.
Lee, 58, beat Spielberg (Lincoln), Haneke (Amour), David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and indie filmmaker Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) to win his second Academy in the directing category.
"I really need to share this with everybody who worked in Life of Pi. I need to thank Yann Martel for writing this marvelous book...," Lee said in his speech before ending it with a Namaste.
The auteur, a five-time Oscar nominee, previously won the trophy for his 2005 gay cowboys drama Brokeback Mountain. Like Life of Pi, his Crouching Tiger, Hiden Dragon was nominated for best picture and directing honours.
In the film, an adaptation of Martels Booker-prize winning novel, Lee took on the challenge of filming the movie, mostly set in the ocean, with an almost entirely Indian casts of newcomer Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Adil Hussain. He spent four years translating the book to the screen that included building an enormous wave tank to shoot ocean scenes besides creating a terrifyingly believable tiger through the help of CGI.
The movie narrates the story of Pi, a zookeepers son in Pondicherry, who finds the world he knows swept away when his family is killed in a storm while on their way to Canada. Pi escapes, set adrift in a lifeboat that is also the refuge of an enormous Bengal tiger.