John Lasseter is the first producer of animated films to be awarded the Selznick Award by the PGA for an outstanding body of work — past recipients include Saul Zaentz, Clint Eastwood, Billy Wilder and Jerry Bruckheimer — and the honor seems entirely appropriate, if not somewhat overdue.
That’s because he is largely responsible for ushering in a new golden age in animation. As head of Pixar, Lasseter has overseen one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed filmmaking operations in the history of the movies. Hits such as the first two “Toy Story” films, “A Bug’s Life” and “Cars” (all of which he directed or co-directed), “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Wall-E,” “Bolt” and “Up” have made billions worldwide and racked up scores of awards, including 25 Oscar noms the past 10 years alone.
But Lasseter isn’t just focused on Pixar’s trademark state-of-the-art CG animation. As Disney’s chief creative officer he also oversaw Disney Animation Studios’ latest release, hand-animated “The Princess and the Frog,” with “The Little Mermaid’s” Ron Clements and John Musker at the helm. The creators took the old-fashioned 2D route with their revamp of the classic fairy tale.