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Wall-E maybe be too animated and popular to get any respect from the Academy, but the Italians know better. John Lasseter, along with the rest of his Pixar collaborators, have been selected to receive the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival in September.

Lasseter will share the award with Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, and Andrew Stanton, who have collectively created every Pixar hit, from Toy Story (Lasseter) to this summer's Up (Docter), which you have to assume will be an international hit by the time the Pixar gentlemen show up in Venice next fall.

The artistic director of the festival, Marco Mueller, praised Lasseter with some pretty fancy words: "Lasseter has not only contributed to bringing animation cinema to new heights as one of the great expressive forces of the new millennium, but has also become one of the symbols of the most precious, vital and inventive tradition of the great Hollywood cinema." Those of us not lucky enough to spend September in Venice won't be able to watch the Pixar team accept their awards, but we can at least be happy that some artistic body somewhere is recognizing Pixar for what it really is-- genius.
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