Taiwan's Government Information Office (GIO) is expected to imminently announce Lust, Caution as the country's official bid for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards.

The uncut version of the film opens in Taiwan and Hong Kong tonightahead of its North American opening, which enables it to qualify for the best foreign-language film category. However, it would still be eligible to be nominated in the other major categories.

Lee was represeting Taiwan when he scooped the best foreign-language film Oscar for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2001. The film was also awarded Oscars for cinematography, original score and art direction.

Meanwhile, Lee will visit the GIO in Taipei today where he will receive a bounty of $600,000 for winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival with his spy thriller. Half the money is directed to Lee personally and another half to his production company, Haishang Films.

Lee will be the first recipient of the rewards scheme announced by the GIO in August 2005 for top prize-winners at Berlin, Cannes, Venice and the Oscars. Winning film must promote Taiwan culture, a requirement that denied Brokeback Mountain a similar reward two years ago.

In addition, Lee has the option to apply for a production subsidy of up to $1.2m from the government purse if he makes another film in the next two years that promotes Taiwan values.

When the scheme was first announced, Tsai Ming-liang called the rewards a 'paper moon' while fellow director Lin Cheng-sheng criticised the government for 'shouting out slogans' instead of solving the industry's real problems. Lee has himself publicly expressed embarrassment over the prize money.

Lee should also score at the local box office through Buena Vista International. Brokeback Mountain grossed $1.5m in Taipei, a figure that Lust, Caution is widely predicted to surpass. An edited version of the film will open in Chinaat the end of October.