Fans of Taiwanese director Ang Lee expressed delight yesterday after he won a Golden Globe award and critics predicted a good showing for him at the upcoming Oscars.
Lee's gay cowboy romance "Brokeback Mountain" will be released in Taiwan on January 20 and he is expected to receive a hero's welcome when he returns home the day before to promote the film.
"I am so happy for Lee, I was worried that the homosexual love topic would not be widely accepted," said Chin Hsiao-ying, a fan in Taipei.
"Brokeback Mountain" cemented its position as favorite for the best film Oscar by scooping the best drama award, as well as Globes for Lee and for Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana who wrote the screenplay.
Critics' favorite Heath Ledger, who was nominated for best actor in his role as a gay cowboy in the Wyoming-set story, lost to Philip Seymour-Hoffman.
Local film critics attributed Lee's success to his subtlety.
"Lee is skilled at portraying humanity and the innermost emotions and feelings of the characters. 'Brokeback Mountain' truly reflected his style," said critic Phoebe Huang.
"He delicately depicted the conflicting characters of gay cowboys and gave a voice to the people who are on the margins of society," she said.
Fellow critic Wang Wei (王瑋) said Lee's subtle portrayal of the homosexual relationship was more acceptable to mainstream viewers.
"I think Lee toned down the controversial and edgy parts in a gay cowboy romance, like he did in the 'The Wedding Banquet' which also deals with homosexuality," Wang said.
Local critics now expect success for Lee in the Oscars.
"After all Lee has collected many awards in various events...it's highly possible that he will take home the Oscars," said Huang.
The Golden Globes is viewed as a key predictor of Oscar success. The Academy voters have until Saturday to pick their nominees for the Oscars which will be presented on March 5.
Based on a short story by novelist E. Annie Proulx, "Brokeback" is the wrenching story of two macho cowboys who, despite themselves, begin a romance in 1963 and pursue it during stolen moments over the next two decades.
The director received his award from fellow director Clint Eastwood, who won last year for "Million Dollar Baby."
Lee has directed movies such as Oscar-nominated "The Wedding Banquet," Oscar winner "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Sense and Sensibility" and Hollywood action flick "Hulk."