Gong Li (born December 31, 1965) is a China-born film actress with current nationality in Singapore. Gong first came into international prominence through close collaboration with Chinese director Zhang Yimou and is credited with helping bring Chinese cinema to Europe and the United States. She has twice been awarded the Golden Rooster and the Hundred Flowers Awards as well as the Berlinale Camera, Cannes Festival Trophy, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle Award, and Volpi Cup. She married Singaporean businessman Ooi Hoe Soeng in 1996, and became a Singaporean citizen in 2008. In June 1998, Gong Li became a recipient of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Two years later, she was chosen as the president of the international jury of the 50th annual Berlin Film Festival. In 1993 she received a New York Film Critics Circle award for her role in Farewell My Concubine. Directed by Chen Kaige, the film was her first major role with a director other than Zhang Yimou. In 2006, Premiere Magazine ranked her performance in Farewell My Concubine as the 89th greatest performances of all time. Gong Li was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 16 October 2000. Immune to political repercussions because of her fame, Gong Li began criticizing the censorship policy in China. Her films Farewell My Concubine and The Story of Qiu Ju were initially banned in China for being thinly-veiled critiques of the Chinese government. Regarding the sexual content in Ju Dou, Chinese censorship deemed the film "a bad influence on the physical and spiritual health of young people." Despite her popularity, Gong avoided Hollywood for years, due to a lack of confidence in speaking English. She made her English speaking debut in 2005 when she starred as the beautiful but vindictive Hatsumomo in Memoirs of a Geisha. Her performance was met with generally positive reviews. Her other English-language roles to date included Chinese Box in 1997, Miami Vice in 2006 and Hannibal Rising in 2007. In all three films, she learned her English lines phonetically.
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