In recognition of Ang Lee’s contribution to the arts, French culture and communication minister Aurelie Filipetti honored the “Life of Pi” helmer with its Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Insignia on Tuesday.
Filipetti feted Lee at a ceremony in France, which 20th Century Fox Film chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos and Fox 2000 prexy Elizabeth Gabler also attended.
Award is given to both French citizens and foreigners for their work in the arts, literature or the propagation of those fields. Since its inception in 1957, about 10,000 Americans have received the honor, including Dwight Eisenhower, Alexander Graham Bell, Duke Ellington and Steven Spielberg.
Lee, whose credits include “Brokeback Mountain” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” has extended his arts contributions beyond the U.S. film industry: The Taiwanese helmer opened Rhythm & Hues Studios’ vfx center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan this month. Center plans to employ 200 local digital artists to work on Hollywood projects.
The French honor accompanies Monday’s announcement from the Motion Picture Sound Editors org, which announced it would honor Lee with its 2013 filmmaker award.
The level of “Chevalier” typically goes to about 200 recipients each year, while the orders of “Commandeur” and “Officier” usually go to about 20 and 60, respectively.