TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- A second Academy Award for best director has thrust Taiwan native Ang Lee into the top ranks of world film-makers and made him a national hero on this diplomatically isolated island.
Lee's victory at Hollywood's annual Oscar extravaganza on Sunday for the fantasy epic "Life of Pi" followed his 2005 directorial win for "Brokeback Mountain." Garnering additional awards for visual effects, cinematography and original score, "Life of Pi" pulled down four Oscars, the most of any film this year.
News of Lee's triumph electrified Taiwanese, who felt intense pride at a native son making it big in the world at large.
Since losing most of its diplomatic allies to China in the 1970s and 1980s -- the two sides split amid civil war more than six decades ago -- Taiwan is now recognized by only 23 countries and outside of information technology circles, its global footprint is small.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou saw Lee's triumph as at least a temporary reversal of those fortunes, thanking Lee for "pushing Taiwan toward the world."
Making Lee's Oscar win even sweeter was Taiwan's key role in the production of "Life of Pi." A majority of the film was shot at a specially constructed water tank in the central city of Taichung, and Taiwanese took many of the most important jobs in seeing the film to completion.