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All of Tim Burton’s films are well known for the highly imaginative and detailed world he creates to surround and inform the story.
He began drawing at an early age and attended Cal Arts Institute on a Disney fellowship. Soon after, he joined the Disney studio as an animator. He made his directing debut with the animated short Vincent, narrated by Vincent Price, which won several awards. Mr. Burton’s next in-house project was a live-action short film called Frankenweenie, an inventive twist on the Frankenstein legend.
In 1985, he directed his first feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, which was a critical and commercial hit. His second feature, Beetlejuice (starring Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, and Winona Ryder) followed suit, and earned the Academy Award for Best Makeup.
The blockbuster Batman (starring Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, and Kim Basinger) earned Mr. Burton the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) Director of the Year Award; and won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration.
He next directed two of his most distinctive works, Edward Scissorhands (starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, and Dianne Wiest) and Batman Returns (starring Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Danny DeVito). The latter was the top-grossing film of 1992.
Mr. Burton conceived and produced the stop-motion animated adventure Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, an original holiday tale that has become a seasonal perennial. He also authored and illustrated a children’s book of the same name, issued in conjunction with the film in 1993. Henry Selick directed that film as well as the subsequent combination live-action and stop-motion feature James and the Giant Peach, which Mr. Burton also produced. His other films as producer include Cabin Boy, directed by Adam Resnick; and Batman Forever, directed by Joel Schumacher.
He produced and directed Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp in the title role. The film garnered Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi) and Best Makeup.
Mr. Burton produced and directed Mars Attacks! (reteaming him with Jack Nicholson, and Danny DeVito, among others) before directing Sleepy Hollow. The latter film (starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci) won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, and the BAFTA Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.
His subsequent films as director included Planet of the Apes; Big Fish, which received BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for Best Picture; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; and, co-directed with Mike Johnson, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. Mr. Burton also produced the latter stop-motion animated film, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, which was an Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature.
He reteamed Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the lead roles of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, based on the Broadway musical classic. The 2007 film won Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture and Best Actor [Musical or Comedy], as well as the Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. Mr. Burton was named Best Director of the Year by the National Board of Review, and was nominated for Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Awards.
His current project, as director and producer, is Alice in Wonderland, based on the classic novel. Mia Wasikowska stars in the title role for Mr. Burton, who is making the movie with a unique combination of motion-capture format, live action, and 3-D.
His book of drawings and rhyming verse, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories, was praised by The New York Times for “conveying the pain of an adolescent outsider.”