Director Lee Ang third Asian to receive Bafta's top honour

Lee Ang will be bestowed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fellowship on April 11, 2021.
Lee Ang will be bestowed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fellowship on April 11, 2021.PHOTO: BAFTA/INSTAGRAM

Taiwanese director Lee Ang has received many accolades in his long career.

He will add another on April 11: the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) Fellowship, the highest honour bestowed by the body.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Marc Samuelson, the chairman of Bafta's Film Committee, said of Lee: "He is an incredibly versatile, daring and exceptional film-maker 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."

Lee, 66, said: "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 film-makers."

He will join a list of illustrious names, including directors Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, as well as actors Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery and Anthony Hopkins.

Lee will be the third Asian to receive the lifetime achievement award, after Japanese video-game developer Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo in 2010 and Japanese video-game designer Hideo Kojima in 2020.

The other recipient of the Bafta Fellowship this year (2021) is South Africa-born video-game studio director Siobhan Reddy.

Lee first rose to prominence in the 1990s with the Taiwanese films Pushing Hands (1991), The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), known as the "Father Knows Best" trilogy.

The Wedding Banquet won Best Feature Film and Best Director at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, which is known as the Chinese-language Oscars, and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

He directed his first English-language film, Sense And Sensibility, in 1995. It went on to win several awards, including Lee's first Bafta Film Award for Best Film and Best Motion Picture - Drama at the Golden Globe Awards.

He later produced and directed the martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), which was nominated for 10 Oscars and won four, including for Best Foreign Language Film.

He won the Oscar Best Director twice, for the gay love story Brokeback Mountain (2005) and the CGI epic, Life Of Pi (2012).

He has also directed other movies such as the erotic espionage film Lust, Caution (2007), starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Tang Wei, and more recently Gemini Man (2019), starring Will Smith.