Pixar president Ed Catmull received two standing ovations as he was presented the Gordon E. Sawyer Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Awards.
The award, in the form of an Oscar statuette, recognized his lifetime of technical contributions to the motion picture industry.
"It's been a great adventure, discovering new tools that have helped filmmaking and inspiring creativity with all the invention," said Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and respected computer scientist. "We don't just make a movie look good, we make each other look good."
The Academy handed out five other awards during the SciTech ceremony Saturday at the Beverly Wilshire: three Scientific and Engineering Awards, a Technical Achievement Award and the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation, to computer scientist and motion picture technologist Mark Kimball, for his service and dedication to AMPAS.
Accepting the Sawyer honor from host Jessica Biel, Catmull saluted colleagues past and present, including George Lucas, saying "he had the foresight to reach out and use technology at a time when it wasn't obvious to do that; he helped invigorate filmmaking." He also praised Apple CEO and Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs for his "loyalty and intelligence and the belief that something good was going to happen" and Pixar's John Lasseter for his "larger-than-life creativity and generosity."
He called Pixar "a family of technical and creative production people who are open and very smart" and Disney his "original inspiration, where the inventive spirit is still strong."
Catmull founded three leading computer-graphics research centers -- Pixar, the computer division of Lucasfilm and the computer-graphics laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology -- and is one of the architects of Pixar's RenderMan, a groundbreaking rendering software that helped usher in the age of computer graphics in filmmaking.
RenderMan has contributed to all of Pixar's CG feature titles and countless animated and VFX-driven films, including "The Abyss," "Jurassic Park" and "Titanic."
In 2000, Catmull, Rob Cook and Loren Carpenter received an Academy Award of Merit -- an Oscar statuette -- for its development.