Wayne Wang

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Wayne Wang
Wayne Wang film director of Chan is Missing.jpg
Wang in 1983
Born (1949-01-12) January 12, 1949 (age 74)
Alma materCalifornia College of the Arts
Occupation(s)Director, producer, screenwriter
Years active1975–present
SpouseCora Miao
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese王穎
Simplified Chinese王颖
Wang in San Francisco, 1981
Preparing a scene from Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart
San Francisco's Cannery Cinema screens "Chan Is Missing" in 1982.
Wang with Wood Moy, Peter Wang and Marc Hayashi, 1981

Wayne Wang (traditional Chinese: 王穎; simplified Chinese: 王颖; pinyin: Wáng Yǐng; Jyutping: Wong4 Wing6; born January 12, 1949) is a Hong Kong–American director, producer, and screenwriter. Considered a pioneer of Asian-American cinema, he was one of the first Chinese-American filmmakers to gain a major foothold in Hollywood. His films, often independently produced, deal with issues of contemporary Asian-American culture and domestic life.

His best known works include Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1985), Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989), the Amy Tan literary adaptation The Joy Luck Club (1993), Chinese Box (1997), and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2007). Other films include the Harvey Keitel and William Hurt–starring comedy Smoke (1995), the family film Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), the romantic comedies Maid in Manhattan (2002) and Last Holiday (2006), and the controversial erotic drama The Center of the World (2001).

He is the recipient of numerous accolades, including a Bodil Award, a Silver Bear, two Golden Shells, with BAFTA Award, Sundance Grand Jury, Golden Lion, and César Award nominations.


Wang was born and raised in Hong Kong, and named after his father's favorite movie star, John Wayne.[1] When he was 17, his parents arranged for him to move to the United States to study, to prepare for medical school. Wang, however, soon put this plan aside when his 'eyes were completely opened' by new experience, and as he turned to the arts,[1] studying film and television at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.[2]

After graduating from film school, Wang taught English to new immigrants in Chinatown.[3]

Chan Is Missing (1982), Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1985), and Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989) established his reputation. He is best known for The Joy Luck Club (1993), Maid in Manhattan (2002), and the independent features Smoke (1995) and Anywhere but Here (1999). At the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, Wang premiered two feature films, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Princess of Nebraska,[4] as well as appearing in the Arthur Dong documentary film Hollywood Chinese.[5]

He won the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival in September 2007 for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers.

In 2016, he won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival.[6]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to former Miss Hong Kong and actress Cora Miao, and lives in San Francisco and New York City.


Year Title Notes
1975 A Man, a Woman, and a Killer Co-director with Rick Schmidt
1982 Chan Is Missing Los Angeles Film Critics Association Independent Film and Video Award
Nominated—Golden Montgolfiere
1985 Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Foreign-Language Film
Nominated—Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic
1987 Slam Dance Nominated—Deauville Critics Award
1988 Dim Sum Take Out Outtakes from Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart
1989 Eat a Bowl of Tea
Life Is Cheap... But Toilet Paper Is Expensive Rotterdam KNF Award
1992 Strangers Segment: "Small Sounds and Tilting Shadows"
1993 The Joy Luck Club
1995 Smoke Berlin Silver Bear
Silver Condor Award for Best Foreign Film
Bodil Award for Best American Film
Robert Award for Best Foreign Film
Nominated—Golden Berlin Bear
Nominated—César Award for Best Foreign Film
Nominated—David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film
Nominated—Nastro d'Argento for Best Foreign Director
Blue in the Face Co-director with Paul Auster
1997 Chinese Box Nominated—Golden Venice Lion
Nominated—Seminci Golden Spike
1999 Anywhere but Here
2001 The Center of the World
2002 Maid in Manhattan
2005 Because of Winn-Dixie
2006 Last Holiday
2007 The Princess of Nebraska
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers Golden Shell for Best Film
CEC Award for Best Film
2009 Chinatown Film Project Film exhibition at Museum of Chinese in America[7]
Segment: "Tuesday"
2011 Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Golden Angel Award for Outstanding Film
2014 Soul of a Banquet[8] Documentary film
2016 While the Women Are Sleeping
2019 Coming Home Again Nominated—Tallinn Jury Prize for Best Director
Nominated—Tallinn Grand Prize for Best Film


  1. ^ a b Lim, Dennis. "Wayne Wang, Bridging Generations and Hemispheres." New York Times. 12 September 2008.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Elvis; Ed. Lia Chang (2000). "Fade to Black With Auteur Wayne Wang". AsianWeek (10 Aug – 16 Aug). ISSN 0195-2056. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-07-19. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Wayne Wang came to the United States at the age of 17 to study painting, filmmaking and TV production at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, Calif.
  3. ^ Wayne Wang and Hua Hsu (Video). Criterion Collection. January 2022.
  4. ^ G. Allen Johnson (October 18, 2008). "Wayne Wang's 'Princess' paves way on Internet". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-10-18. His "The Princess of Nebraska," a San Francisco-shot tale of a young Chinese immigrant dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, is thought to be the first feature film by a major director to premiere – without a domestic theatrical or DVD release – on the Internet.
  5. ^ Tong, Allan (2007). "Wayne Wang Interview". Exclaim! Magazine. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  6. ^ "SDAFF Award Winners | Pacific Arts Movement". pacarts.org. Archived from the original on 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  7. ^ "Chinatown Film Project | Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)". www.mocanyc.org. Archived from the original on 2017-07-02. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  8. ^ G. Allen Johnson (October 1, 2014). "'Soul of a Banquet': Wayne Wang's documentary on Cecilia Chiang". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 20, 2017.

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