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Ziyi Zhang

Ziyi Zhang is one of the most well-known Chinese actresses today, with a string of international hits to her name. She has worked with renowned directors such as Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai and Rob Marshall.

Ziyi Zhang grew up in, and still lives with, a working class family in Beijing, the daughter of an economist father and kindergarten teacher mother.

Ziyi Zhang joined the Beijing Dance Academy at the age of 11, and at 17 she entered China's prestigious Central Academy of Drama.

At the age of 19, she was offered her first role in world renowned director Zhang Yimou's The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear award in the 2000 Berlin Film Festival.

Zhang further rose to fame due to her role in the phenomenally successful Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she won the Independent Spirit's Best Supporting Actress Award and the Toronto Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress Award.

Ziyi Zhang went on to make Hero which was a huge success in the English-speaking world and an Oscar and a Golden Globe contender.

Her next film was the avant-garde drama Purple Butterfly which competed at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. She went back to the martial arts genre with House of Flying Daggers, which earned her a Best Actress nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

For her next drama 2046, directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring many of Asia's best-known actresses, Zhang won the Hong Kong Film Critics' Best Actress Award and the Hong Kong Film Academy's Best Actress Award.

Showing her whimsical musical tap-dancing side, Zhang starred in Princess Raccoon directed by 82-year-old Japanese legend Seijun Suzuki who was honored at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

Ziyi Zhang plays the leading role of Sayuri in the adaptation of the international bestseller Memoirs Of A Geisha, with her Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon co-star Michelle Yeoh, as well as Gong Li and Ken Watanabe. The movie was produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Rob Marshall, and released in December 2005. Zhang has received a Best Actress - Drama Golden Globe nomination for her role.

Zhang has also been known to sing, and was featured on the House Of Flying Daggers Soundtrack with her own musical rendition of the ancient Chinese poem. The song was also featured in a scene in the film.

On 27 June, 2005 it was announced that Ziyi Zhang had accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those able to vote on the Academy Awards. Her formal welcome to AMPAS occurred in Beverly Hills, California on 21 September of 2005.