Los Angeles: 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. Watch: Life of Pi wins 2 early awards l Life of Pi: Best Original Score l Oscar: Lee wins best director
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 Martel's 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 zookeeper's 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.
The movie registered early wins at the 85th Academy awards by taking home the trophies for the best cinematography and visual effects.
Claudio Miranda won the best cinematography trophy for his stunning camera work in the 3D movie.
A nervous Miranda said the film, which was largely shot in a huge water tank, was "quite a piece" to make.
The film also won in the visual effects category with Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R Christopher White taking home the golden statuette.
The awards were presented by 'The Avengers' team Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L Jackson.
Music director Mychael Danna won an Oscar in the Best Original Score category for his work in Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi', about a shipwrecked Indian boy.
Danna has had a very close collaboration with Lee as they have worked together in the past for films like 'The Ice Storm' and 'Ride with the Devil'.