There was disappointment in Taiwan on Monday as local director Ang Lee failed to grab Oscars for either best director or best film for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" -- even though the martial arts spectacle walked off with four awards.
"After all the world of ancient Chinese fighters Ang Lee created in his film was hardly understandable to the Americans," local film commentator Tseng Wei-chen said.
The low-budget "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" has been a runaway box success with its story of honor and unfulfiled love and dazzling scenes of flying fighters and swordplay.
Amid stiff competition, the Roman epic "Gladiator" won best picture, while Steven Soderbergh was named best director for "Traffic," which looks at the world of drugs on both sides of the US-Mexican border.
"I felt the mood Ang Lee tried to present at his film was all Greek to the American film goers even though it has become one of the most popular foreign films in the United States," Tseng said.
Lee's martial arts spectacle -- nominated for 10 awards unprecedented for a foreign-language film -- won four Oscars for best foreign language film, best art direction, and best cinematography, and best original score.
"Crouching Tigers is a very Chinese movie," another film commentator Wang Wei said.
"As the characters speak Mandarin throughout the film, it is difficult for the film to be appreciated by the conservative Academy Awards," Wang said.
Lee's parents, who live in the southern city of Tainan, encouraged him to carry on with his art.
Lee is expected to fly back to Taiwan next month where he will be greeted by President Chen Shui-bian.
"Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons" stormed the North American box office, beating a long-running American aversion to subtitles -- AFP
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