One animated guy

Pixar pioneer John Lasseter's Peter Pan syndrome is working for him.

By James Bates
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 10, 2007


John Lasseter's business card got a lot more crowded with the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios by Walt Disney Co.

The computer animation pioneer is now chief creative director for both Pixar and Disney's animation group, as well as director of the acclaimed "Cars," nominated for a Golden Globe for best animated feature.

But another title he says likes is "big kid who never grew up," which also reflects a child-like fun he continues to have during the awards season and, especially, the Oscars. He once showed up to the ceremony in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Every year, he dresses up each of his personal Oscars (earned for an animated short film and a special one for leading the "Toy Story" team) in a gown and tuxedo for Christmas and the Academy Awards.

You've been in the awards mix before, but how is this year different?

One thing that's so awesome this year is the fact the Hollywood Foreign Press has a Golden Globe for best animated feature film. With the Oscars already having one for several years, I'm thrilled beyond belief, because I love animation. It's all I've ever wanted to do. It's all I'm ever going to do.

Is it another sign animation is getting respect?

Absolutely. Both of these organizations see there are a number of studios producing quality feature films in animation that it warrants an award. Back in the day when Disney was the only studio consistently making animated films, it would have been like giving an Oscar or Golden Globe to one studio. It's a testament to the industry as a whole that there a number of studio producing quality films. This year we have 16 animated films released, which is absolutely remarkable.

What do you actually do with your Oscars?

I love the Oscars. I dress them up -- I'm dead serious. I have a friend at Mattel who designed a handmade gown and tuxedo for my two Oscars. Every Christmas the Oscars get dressed up on the mantle -- a beautiful velvet gown with red satin, off the shoulder. The guy wears a tuxedo with green lapels -- a Christmas look. And, of course, they get dressed up for the Academy Awards.
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