Lasseter sees more chance for animation at Oscars
By Silvia Aloisi
VENICE (Reuters) - The creator of "Toy Story" and other animation blockbusters hopes more animation movies will be considered for the Oscar best picture now that the number of nominees in that category is being doubled to 10.
John Lasseter, who is receiving a lifetime career award along with the directors of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios at the Venice film festival, said animation films were now as respected as their live action peers.
"The extension of the number of nominees for best picture opens up opportunities for very popular films and other films including animation," he told reporters.
So far, Walt Disney's 1991 "Beauty and the Beast" is the only full-length animation film nominated in the best picture category, he said.
Asked how he felt at seeing animation movies getting more official recognition and awards, the 52-year-old Oscar-winning director said: "We all got on a space ship and flew around the earth ... we think we landed where animation was finally accepted along with our big brothers in live action. It's hard to believe, I am so excited."
Organizers said Lasseter, chief creative officer at the studios, was "one of the great innovators and experimenters of Hollywood."
Lasseter's first long feature film, "Toy Story" (1995), was the first animation movie to be nominated for best original script at the Academy Awards, which until then considered animation films mostly for the best music statuette.
The Best Animated Feature category was created in 2001, and Pixar has won four times since then, with "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and "WALL-E," making it the most successful studios in this field. Continued...