Zhang Ziyi (Chinese: 章子怡; born 9 February 1979) is a Chinese actress and model. She is regarded as one of the Four Dan Actresses of China. Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She later gained international recognition for her role in Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards. Zhang has also appeared in Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), and House of Flying Daggers (2004). Her most critically acclaimed works are Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), which earned her nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role; and The Grandmaster (2013), for which she won 12 different Best Actress awards to become the most awarded Chinese actress for a single film.
From 2004 to 2010, Zhang ranked in the Top 5 of Forbes China Celebrity 100 list every year. In 2008, she was awarded with the Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema award at the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival. In 2013, she received the French Cultural Order at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Zhang Ziyi was born and raised in Beijing, China. Her father, Zhang Yuanxiao, was an accountant and later economist, and her mother, Li Zhousheng, a kindergarten teacher. She has an older brother with whom she is very close. Zhang began studying dance when she was 8 years old; subsequently, she joined the Beijing Dance Academy at her parents' suggestion at the age of 11. At the age of 15, Zhang won the national youth dance championship and also appeared in a handful of TV commercials and began appearing in television commercials in Hong Kong.
In 1996, Zhang entered the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing at the age of 17.
Zhang Ziyi made her acting debut in the television film Touching Starlight at the age of 16.
In 1998, while she was studying in Central Academy of Drama, Zhang was offered her first role by director Zhang Yimou in his film The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear prize at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival. Zhang plays a country girl in love with the town's young teacher, she won the Best Actress Award at the 2000 Hundred Flowers Awards for her performance.
Due to her success, Zhang was considered one of the Four Dan Actresses of China.
Zhang rose to international fame in 2000 with her role as Yu Jiaolong in Ang Lee's re-visioned martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie's success in the US and Europe helped her break into Hollywood. Zhang plays a young Manchu noblewoman who has secretly learned martial arts and runs off to become a wandering swordswoman rather than commit to an arranged marriage. This role won her the Most Promising Actress award at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and Best Supporting Actress awards from the Independent Spirit Awards, as well as Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.
Zhang then appeared in her first American film, Rush Hour 2 (2001) opposite Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
In 2002, Zhang co-starred in Hero alongside Jet Li, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, directed by her early mentor Zhang Yimou. The film was a huge success in the English-speaking world and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.
Zhang then appeared in House of Flying Daggers (2004), again by Zhang Yimou, where she starred along Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau. She plays the blind dancing girl Mei, who despite the lack of eyesight, is a skilled fighter. In preparation for the part, Zhang spent two months living with an actual blind girl. Her performance earned her a Best Actress nomination at the BAFTA Awards.
Zhang next starred in Wong Kar-wai's romantic drama film 2046 (2004), which featured many top Chinese actors and actresses. Critics praise Zhang for her "expressive" body language that was combined with her "reserved and complex emotions" in performance as a struggling prostitute. Zhang won Best Actress awards at the Hong Kong Film Critics' Award and Hong Kong Film Academy Award.
Zhang then played the lead role of Sayuri in the American film adaptation based on the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha. Controversy arose in China about having a Chinese woman portray a prominent Japanese geisha. Nonetheless, the film was a box office hit in the West. For the role, Zhang was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.
On 27 June 2005, Zhang accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those who are able to vote on the Academy Awards. In May 2006, Zhang was chosen as a jury member of Feature Films at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Zhang returned to China in 2006 for the Chinese martial arts film The Banquet, directed by Feng Xiaogang. The film is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
In Forever Enthralled (2008), which tells the story of legendary Peking opera actor Mei Lanfang, Zhang appears in the second act as Mei's lover Meng Xiaodong. The Hollywood Reporter praised her performance as "confident and passion", giving the romance a sparkle.
In 2012, Zhang starred next to Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong-gun in the Chinese-Korean co-production Dangerous Liaisons, an adaptation of the French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, narrating Shanghai of the 1930s. Zhang was reportedly paid 20 million RMB (approximately $3.5 million) for the role. The same year, she was cast in the coming-of-age film Forever Young directed and written by Li Fangfang. The film premiered in January 2018.
In 2013, Zhang received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her significant contributions to the film industry.
Zhang reunited with Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung for The Grandmaster (2013), which also marks her return to the martial arts genre after 7 years since The Banquet (2006). The film was China's submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Picture. Critics praise Zhang's portrayal of Gong'Er as the "best performance she's ever delivered in the history of her career." which led to her winning several "Best Actress" trophies across Asia.
In 2014, Zhang starred in John Woo's romantic epic The Crossing, based on the true story of the Taiping steamer collision and follows six characters and their intertwining love stories in Taiwan and Shanghai during the 1930s. Zhang plays a poor illiterate woman waiting for her soldier lover in 1930's Shanghai.
In 2015, Zhang produced her third film Oh My God, which stars Zhang Yixing and Li Xiaolu. She made a cameo appearance in the film.
Zhang Ziyi was the first Chinese woman to be appointed as an Emporio Armani ambassador, which she served from 2009 to 2010. She also served as regional ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz, Garnier, Precious Platinum; and global ambassadors for Maybelline, Visa, TAG Heuer, Omega SA and Clé de Peau Beauté. Since 2019, she became the global ambassador for Chopard.
In 2005, Zhang was listed in TIME's World's 100 Most Influential People. They called her "China's Gift to Hollywood".
In 2008, she was awarded with the "Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema" at the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival.
In 2010, she was named "Actress of the Decade" by CineAsia. She previously won "Star of Tomorrow prize" back in 1999.
In 2013, Zhang received the Order of Arts and Letter at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Awards.
Zhang obtained Hong Kong residency in 2007 through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for her contribution to the local film industry. She is an admirer and collector of the works of the Chinese contemporary artist Shen Jingdong.
Zhang was engaged to Israeli American venture capitalist Aviv Nevo until the couple separated in 2010. Zhang married Chinese rock musician Wang Feng in May 2015. On 27 December 2015, Zhang gave birth to their daughter, Wang Xingxing. In January 2020, Zhang gave birth to their son.
章子怡曾分別和霍启山、阿維夫·尼沃(Aviv Vivi Nevo)和撒貝寧交往。在2008年7月和以色列籍風險投資家阿維夫·尼沃（Aviv Vivi Nevo，1965年3月15日-）訂婚。後來在2010年分手。