This year's PGA honorees take stock of their successes


Stanley Kramer Award
Since "Precious" debuted, director Lee Daniels has become a go-to guy for anyone who has been abused. "They come up to me and just download," he says. "I know the look before they start speaking. There's this deer-in-the-headlights look and they zoom right into you and hold your hand." But there's a flip side, too: "I also know the look of a perpetrator. They look down on the floor as they come up to me. Then they say, 'I'm abusing my kid, I need help.' " Either way, he says: "We made 'Precious' so that no one would ever ignore this girl again."

Joss Whedon
Vanguard Award
Whedon is far more than just a movie maker. A champion of the Internet, his contributions include Web comic books, promotional shorts and, notably, the three-part Internet musical comedy "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," starring Neil Patrick Harris. Now Whedon is working on a sequel. "It's not going to be exactly the same as the first one," he says. "We plan to make it closer to feature-length and it's going to be little more ambitious." It also may not end up online. "There are so many ways a story can be presented -- on the Internet, in installments, in one piece, in movies, on TV, on cell phones. In creating the sequel, we're not paying attention to any of (those outlets). We're focusing on telling a longer, fuller story about Dr. Horrible and keeping all our options open."

Mark Burnett
Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television
"I don't feel like I've succeeded to the full amount I'm capable of," says Burnett, the most prolific producer in his field, whose successes include "The Apprentice" and "Shark Tank," as well as "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" Still, Burnett sees new territories he'd like to explore, citing the talent show arena. And if he were to be a contestant on one his own shows, which one would like to participate in? "I think I would do very well on 'The Apprentice' and could potentially do well on 'Survivor,' " he says. "But it would be more for the experience, than for winning, which is also how I cast my shows." And how does he do that? "I'm not looking for people who want to be on television, I'm looking for people who want an experience. That translates to authenticity on camera."

John Lasseter
David O. Selznick Award
What's Lasseter's favorite animated film? Having made such films as "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo," "WALL-E" and this year's "Up" -- as well as the non-CGI "The Princess and the Frog" -- you might be surprised: "Dumbo" (1941). "The movie is just over 60 minutes long and is the most concise, smart storytelling ever," he says. "The main character doesn't say a single word in the whole movie. As soon as you need dialogue, Timothy the mouse comes in." His favorite sequence: "The moment where Dumbo goes to see his mother, who was taken away for protecting him, and they can't see each other. They can only touch with their trunks," he says. "That's why I do what I do. That's why everybody here at Pixar does what they do. We make the movies we love."

Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures chairman and CEO
Amy Pascal, Sony Pictures co-chair
Milestone Award
For Lynton, the secret to running a successful studio lies in the male/female balance. "I know partnerships have worked between two men, but I think it's better between a man and a woman," he notes. "There's a complimentary quality that exists inherently. Men tend to make it about something that's not necessarily in the room. Then it turns into more of a sporting event instead of actually trying to get something done." Speaking of getting things done, in August he and Pascal paid $60 million for rough footage of Michael Jackson's concert rehearsals, turning it into the $200 million-plus "This Is It." "When I first saw the footage, it was unlike anything I've seen before," Pascal says. "I felt so moved by the creative process. That movie did for (Jackson) what he could never do for himself -- let people know who he really was. That really came through and people responded to it."
comments powered by Disqus