Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 13:00 UK

Venice honour for Pixar directors

Star Wars creator George Lucas presents Pixar's John Lasseter with the award
Star Wars creator George Lucas presented the award

The animation directors of Pixar studios have won the Venice Film Festival's lifetime achievement award - the first team to be given the honour.

Chief creative officer John Lasseter and its other directors are behind hits including Finding Nemo and Toy Story.

Pixar has made 10 films, four of which have won best animation Oscars.

Earlier, Lasseter said he hoped more animations would be put forward for the best picture Oscar now that 10 films will be eligible for the shortlist.

'Backroom operation'

Lasseter, 52, who directed 1995's Toy Story - the first fully computer-animated feature film - told reporters: "The extension of the number of nominees for best picture opens up opportunities for very popular films and other films including animation."

George Lucas is so proud of us and we are so thankful to him - he is a true visionary
John Lasseter
Pixar

He added that 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast was the only full-length animation to date to be nominated for best picture.

The Venice Golden Lion lifetime achievement award was presented to Lasseter and his team by Star Wars creator George Lucas.

Pixar began life as the computer graphics division of his company Lucasfilm. It became Pixar when Lucas sold it to Apple founder Steve Jobs for $10m (£6.97m) in 1986.

"I think anybody else when they sell a company and the company goes on to be very successful, they would feel like they missed out," Lasseter said.

Up

"George Lucas is so proud of us and we are so thankful to him - he is a true visionary."

Lucas, meanwhile, praised "my little backroom operation that started in 1979".

Lasseter's team includes Ratatouille director Brad Bird, Monsters Inc director Pete Docter, Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich and Wall-E director Andrew Stanton.

In 2006, Disney bought Pixar with Lasseter made chief creative officer of both animation studios.

Pixar's latest animation Up, which launched this year's Cannes Film Festival, is due for UK release on 9 October.



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