John Lasseter's pair of Oscars have a new friend: a lifetime achievement trophy. The Pixar and Disney animation chief received the award Friday night for his dedication to the 40-minutes-or-less medium from Shorts International, an entertainment organization which promotes, distributes, broadcasts and produces short films.
"It feels fantastic because I love short films," said Lasseter. "I love the art form and what it did for me as a filmmaker. I learned so much from making short films. They're these little gems, these fantastic little ideas that are not meant to be a feature film. They're perfect unto themselves. A great short film leaves you smiling and thinking about it."
Lasseter won the animated short film Oscar in 1988 for "Tin Toy," as well as a special achievement award in 1995 for "Toy Story," the first feature-length computer-generated film. The lifetime achievement award from Shorts International may not be his only prize this weekend. He's nominated with the other "Toy Story 3" filmmakers for best adapted screenplay.
"Toy Story 3" is also competing in the sound editing, original song, animated feature and best picture categories. Lasseter is hopeful about it's chances for the top prize, even though the motion picture academy has never bestowed an animated film with the best picture honor. "Toy Story 3" is only the third animated film to be nominated in that category.
"I do believe we will one day see an animated film win the best picture Oscar, and I hope it's on Sunday," said Lasseter. "I think that over time, more and more of Hollywood and the Academy has gotten to know animation. It's exactly the same as live action filmmaking. We tell great stories. We use great actors. We just use a different camera."
Other honorees Friday included director Kenneth Branagh and actresses June Foray and Melissa Leo, who commended short films for keeping her "going many a time when things were quite blue." This year's crop of live action, documentary and animated short film nominees were also recognized during the swanky affair at Soho House overlooking the Sunset Strip.