John Lasseter maintains creative oversight of all films and associated projects from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios and Disneytoon Studios, and is involved in a wide range of activities at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Lasseter made his directorial debut in 1995 with Toy Story, the world’s first feature-length computer-animated film, for which he received a Special Achievement Academy Award® recognizing his inspired leadership of the filmmaking team. He and the rest of Toy Story‘s screenwriting team earned an Academy Award® nomination for best original screenplay, marking the first time an animated feature had ever been recognized in that category. Lasseter also directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011). He is currently directing Toy Story 4.
Lasseter has executive produced all Pixar features since Monsters, Inc. (2001), including the studio’s seven Academy Award®-winners Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), WALL•E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Brave (2012) as well as the 2015 feature films Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. To date, Pixar’s films have earned more than $9 billion in gross box-office receipts.
Lasseter was the executive producer of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award®-winning feature Frozen (2013), which also won an Academy Award® for best original song (“Let It Go”). The film, which crossed the $1 billion mark in March 2014, is the No. 1 animated feature of all time. Since assuming creative oversight of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006, Lasseter has served as executive producer on all of its feature films, including Bolt (2008), The Princess and the Frog (2009), Tangled (2010), Winnie the Pooh (2011), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), and its most recent release, Big Hero 6, which was the highest grossing animated film of 2014. He also serves as executive producer for Disneytoon Studios’ films.
Lasseter wrote, directed and animated Pixar’s first short films, including Luxo Jr., Red’s Dream, Tin Toy, and Knick Knack. Luxo Jr. was the first three-dimensional computer-animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award® when it was nominated for best animated short film in 1986; Tin Toy was the first three-dimensional computer-animated film ever to win an Academy Award® when it was named best animated short film in 1988. Lasseter has executive produced all of the studio’s subsequent shorts, including the Academy Award®-winning shorts Geri’s Game (1997) and For the Birds (2000), recent shorts La Luna (2011) and The Blue Umbrella (2013), and Pixar’s new short Lava, which opens in front of Inside Out. He also serves as executive producer for Walt Disney Animation Studios shorts, including the Academy Award®-winning shorts Paperman (2012) and Feast (2014), as well as Get A Horse! (2013), and Frozen Fever, which recently debuted in front of Cinderella.
In his role as principal creative advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, Lasseter was instrumental in bringing the beloved characters and settings of Radiator Springs to life for Disneyland Resort guests with the successful 2012 launch of Cars Land, a massive 12-acre expansion of Disney California Adventure Park.
In 2009, Lasseter and the directors of Pixar were honored at the 66th Venice International Film Festival with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. The following year, Lasseter became the first producer of animated films ever to receive the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. Lasseter’s other recognitions include the 2004 outstanding contribution to cinematic imagery award from the Art Directors Guild, an honorary degree from the American Film Institute, and the 2008 Winsor McCay Award from ASIFA-Hollywood for career achievement and contribution to the art of animation.
Prior to the formation of Pixar in 1986, Lasseter was a member of the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd., where he designed and animated The Adventures of André and Wally B., the first ever piece of character-based three-dimensional computer animation, and the computer-generated Stained Glass Knight character in the 1985 Steven Spielberg-produced film Young Sherlock Holmes.
Lasseter was part of the inaugural class of the character animation program at California Institute of the Arts and received his B.F.A. in film in 1979. He is the only two-time winner of the Student Academy Award for Animation, for his CalArts student films Lady and the Lamp (1979) and Nitemare (1980). His very first award came at the age of 5, when he won $15 from the Model Grocery Market in Whittier, Calif., for a crayon drawing of the Headless Horseman.