Pixar and Disney Animation chief John Lasseter took home the lifetime achievement trophy at Shorts International's first annual Shorts Awards on Friday.
Lasseter received the ceremony's highest honor for his considerable achievements in the field of short filmmaking, which includes all projects under 40 minutes.
"It feels fantastic because I love short films," Lasseter told the Associated Press
. "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 is a groundbreaking figure in the field of animation, having worked on many of Disney's and Pixar's first CGI projects. He won the best animated short Oscar for Tin Toy and a special achievement award for directing Toy Story, the first ever computer-animated feature film.
Lasseter's awards run will continue at Sunday's Oscars, where Pixar's Toy Story 3 is up for five awards, including best picture. Lasseter himself is nominated for best adapted screenplay. Despite the fact that an animated film has never taken home the academy's top prize, Lasseter is hoping for a break from tradition this year.
"I do believe we will one day see an animated film win the best picture Oscar, and I hope it's on Sunday," Lasseter said. "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 winners at the Shorts Awards included actresses Melissa Leo and June Foray and director Kenneth Branagh, who each received Visionary Awards for their contributions to the medium, and the fifteen shorts nominated at this year's Academy Awards.