Ang Lee Wins Best Director Oscar for ‘Life of Pi’, Chinese Reactions

Chinese director Ang Lee during his Best Director Oscar acceptance speech.

Chinese director Ang Lee wins Best Director Oscar for "Life of Pi" at the 85th Academy Awards.

From Sina Weibo:

#Ang Lee#

Life of Pi Dominates Oscars With Wins in 4 Categories, Ang Lee Happily Eats Hamburger on Street While Holding Oscar Statuette

At the 85th Academy Awards, Li An [Ang Lee] won his second Academy Award for Best Director with Life of Pi. Also winning awards for Original Score, Visual Effects, and Cinematography, he said in Chinese at the end of his acceptance speech: “谢谢” [“Thank you”]. After the end of the awards ceremony, someone captured a photo of Ang Lee happily eating a hamburger by the roadside, the Oscar statuette still gripped tightly in his hand. Netizens lovingly called him “the Great Foodie” and joked, “I have finally found a characteristic I share with Ang Lee.” But, do the Oscars not provide food/catering?!

Chinese director Ang Lee eating an In-N-Out hamburger after the 85th Academy Awards, while still holding onto his Oscar statuette.

Ang Lee’s acceptance speech for his Best Director Oscar, on popular Chinese video-sharing website Youku:

Comments from Sina Weibo:


Ang Lee’s name was displayed on the top of Taipei 101. His speech today moved every Taiwanese person. He knows that this is just a small island, and though he had to accomplish his movie dreams in the U.S., he has never forgotten that it is Chinese culture that nurtured a part of him and where he comes from. His life transcends East and West, transcends religion, transcends gender, transcends the conflicts between desires and ethics. Ang Lee puts himself at such a low position that he can see the tenderness of every soul.


#Ang Lee# He made a movie that Americans like and won an American award, and yet there is a bunch of Chinese people excited and overjoyed for this… Sigh… I’m not speaking good or ill about Ang Lee, but the values of our countrymen…


Also as a Chinese, I should be happy for Ang Lee’s Oscar win, but with that movie of his instead using dirty filthy India as its backdrop, spreading to the world Indian culture, I feel deep inside he long ago lost his Chinese heart, and I don’t feel his winning makes me very much pride. Just like not feeling pride when Taiwan’s entertainment industry is recognized by the world! Only because I have a true [mainland] Chinese heart!


Speaking of Ang Lee, people are just moved because he has never abandoned his wife, with many women always saying how one has to find someone like Ang Lee when finding a husband. But, do you know? Good husbands are not to be found but to be cultivated by women. Back then when Ang Lee had just graduated and stayed at home writing scripts, without any success, his wife supported him for more than seven years, and not only didn’t abandon him but also kept encouraging him to persevere. Let’s ask how many women now can do this?


Let’s talk a bit about Mrs. Lee as well. Many think Mrs. Lee hit the jackpot, but many people only see Ang Lee’s success and wealth, without understanding how much pressure there is in the industry of creative art. For artists who can’t produce good work, it’s easy to get emotional, have psychological crises, and even go crazy if difficulties can’t be overcome. From all kinds of information, we can see that Mrs. Lee is emotionally stable, of strong spirit, and a woman with her own career career and opinions who can support her husband. It’s Ang Lee who hit the jackpot in running into her!

Chinese director Ang Lee with his wife Jane Lin at the 85th Oscars.


The second time Ang Lee got an Oscar, he said “Thank you, Taiwan” on stage, without mentioning “China” at all. Of course. His last work Lust, Caution was already determined a “Chinese traitor movie” by [mainland] Chinese officials. Ang Lee, bitten by the snake, even after winning support from “foreign powers”, ai yo, how could he dare claim connections with “China” again? Do you approve of Ang Lee calling himself “Chinese” on stage?


The [micro-] blogger is truly boring, pettily sore and dark. I watched Life of Pi, it was very moving, and even if the director was Mauritian, so what?


Thanking Taiwan and thanking Hong Kong, thanking Shanghai, thanking Sichuan, thanking Dongbei, aren’t they all the same, all China? Don’t be overly sensitive and insecure.


The [micro-] blogger is wrong in common sense: The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China are the same country: China. Thanking Taiwan is thanking China.


What we mean by compatriots is us still being able to send our best wishes when others have been able to throw off their shackles and are heading toward a brighter future.


To be an international director, one must have an international perspective, without having to always emphasize one’s country, people, and five thousand years of culture. Ang Lee in this respect when compared to Wang Jiawei [Wong Kar-wai], Wu Yusen [John Woo], and Feng Xiaogang is on a whole different level. Lee deserves the respect.


Taiwan is his hometown, and his family is also in Taiwan. Thanking Taiwan is a given [obvious, natural]. The word “Chinese” can mean Chinese nationality, but also Chinese ethnicity/heritage.


Great masters belong to the world, not to the Party. Why give art a label? If we have to blame, we can only blame the current state of Mainland China. A bunch of old guys controlling education and the arts, what can you expect them to understand?


Who cares if you approve or not. With the importance of Hong Kong and Taiwan getting lower and lower, and the sense of existence getting weaker and weaker, whether you approves or not is no longer something we care about anymore~


Winning Best Director again, Ang Lee: All Owed to Taiwan / Ang Lee thanked Taiwan multiple times in his English acceptance speech, saying, “I cannot make this movie without the help of Taiwan. We shot there. I wanna thank everybody there who helped us, especially the city of Taichung, my Indian crew. I love you.” However, when Xinhua News Agency forwarded the news of his win yesterday, the quoted speech omitted the part of him thanking Taiwan multiple times, and the CCTV-6 Movie Channel also deleted these parts when it broadcasted his speech.

[Note: Videos clips of Ang Lee’s full, uncut acceptance speech were readily found online, including this one report viewed 740k+ times on leading Chinese video-sharing website Youku’s homepage, and the above embedded version viewed 227k+ times.]


All of [Sina] Weibo is talking about Ang Lee’s wife, as if she’s an illiterate peasant woman whose 30-year marriage with Ang Lee was her having purchased the right stock and then selling it at a good price. Those who talk like this have no respect for women and marriages in their bones, saying things like “old woman”, “ugly, supportive wife” and “bitterness comes before sweetness” … Marriages under the influence of this kind of distorted and utilitarian system of values is indeed like what Eileen Chang said, treating marriage as long-term legal prostitution.

Chinese director Ang Lee with his wife Jane Lin at the 85th Oscars.


Ang Lee won an Oscar again, and the other coast calls him “Son of Taiwan” while here the mainland once again starts talking about his Chinese ethnicity. Actually, while the birth of a good work of art will always have a certain relationship to the system [country] and culture of one’s person, it ultimately it is the result of that person’s own effort and talent. The honor belongs to the artist himself. Stop dragging in country, nationality/ethnicity, blood/lineage, and other such “grand” things.


After Ang Lee got the Oscar, Chinese women one after another started talking about how stock-picking strategies, and Chinese men one after another started talking about the benefits of long-term investment… Truly a fucking amazing land….


When Ang Lee won the Oscar again and thanked Taiwan on stage, some people are debating him not mentioning China. Life of Pi was shot in Taiwan and received assistance there, and what more, he is a Taiwanese, so him thanking [Taiwan] is very natural. Chinese people still lack self-confidence, using honors and awards for self-esteem, attaching celebrities and their halos to China, just like what happened with Jeremy Lin. This mindset is understandable, but modern China’s little contribution to world civilization and inability to export its values is what’s really worth debating and reflecting upon.


Boycott Ang Lee! He thanked Taiwan but not China at the Oscar Awards Ceremony. I’d rather go eat a red bean pie at McDonald’s than go see Life of Pi!!!


Once again I see so many people incessantly associating glory to themselves. ORZ, the media is truly what disgusts me the most now, the one and only thing… Ang Lee’s last sentence was “thank you, Taiwan.” You guys don’t understand it? ╮(╯▽╰)╭ Such a wonderful director, but how come he suddenly becomes devalued the moment you guys start talking.


Why delete the part of Ang Lee’s speech where he said “Thank you, Taiwan, especially Taichung”?! Aren’t the two coasts [Taiwan and the mainland] supposed to be the same family?


My English is not good, CET-4 only, but even with my listening comprehension I could tell Ang Lee, from beginning to end, was all about thanking Taiwan and the city of Taichung, without a single word about China. Those who are so excited and cried @杨幂, saying “the pride of China” @稀土部队, what are you guys getting so worked up about? He has nothing to do with you!


My Taiwan friends just told me that when Xinhua News Agency reported Ang Lee’s win, it intentionally deleted the parts where he repeatedly thanked Taiwan. I really want to know why this is still necessary in this day and age? Then, because of this rumor (I don’t know how to verify it), the whole Taiwanese internet is madly cursing Mainland China. This really was something that was completely unnecessary.

Overall, most Chinese netizens were happy for Ang Lee and his win.

Chinese director Ang Lee during his Best Director Oscar acceptance speech.


Written by Cecilia Miao


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