But the 51-year-old director admitted that he had been caught off-guard by the surprise victory of the racial drama 'Crash' in the coveted best picture category yesterday that 'Brokeback' had been widely expected to win.
"I'm so proud of the movie," he said of 'Brokeback.' They didn't vote for it. I don't know (why)," he said backstage when asked if he was disappointed that his groundbreaking romance had lost out on the biggest prize of all.
"I was backstage enjoying kind of the buildup I was familiar with ... And then there was a surprise this year for me, frankly, but congratulations to the 'Crash' filmmakers; it seems to be very enjoyable," he said.
He noted that 'Brokeback' had done better at the box office than all five of the other nominated films and had swept virtually all Hollywood's earlier awards shows and the British BAFTAs.
"We've been winning, sweeping, whatever, and it just happened this way. I really don't know," he said when asked if he felt the gay cowboys had been slighted by Oscar.
Lee has made a career of depicting the struggles of outsiders, and his latest film explores the forbidden love between two cowboys in a macho world where the felt they could not publicly embrace their yearnings.