Lee is the first and — so far — only Asian to win an Oscar for Best Director, and he's done it twice with 2005's Brokeback Mountain and 2012's Life of Pi. He also nabbed a nomination (but not the win) with 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The Taiwanese-American has been the most successful Asian filmmaker within the bounds of prestige cinema. His acclaimed career has encompassed Jane Austen adaptations, '70s family dramas, gay cowboy romances, and an ill-fated superhero movie. However, he got his start with a trio of movies — Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet, and Eat Drink Man Woman — about generational divides in Taiwanese, Chinese, and immigrant communities. His forthcoming movie, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, is about a group of soldiers back from Iraq on a publicity tour where they're being celebrated as war heroes: It already looks like an awards contender as well as a potential technological leap forward for the helmer, as it was filmed at 120 frames per second.
Where to start: A CONTROVERSIAL PICK, but there's a case to be made for Hulk, Lee's 2003 attempt at a Marvel adaptation before superhero movies reached their current level of highly connected big business. It's a strange, fascinating, dark take on Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) that tries to re-create the sense of comic book panels on screen.