When it was released in the summer, the film about a lonely robot that yearned for love amid the deserted trash heap of a futuristic Earth initially prompted talk of a best picture nomination. Although its early buzz eventually fizzled by the fall, "Wall-E" surprised few by beating out the well-received "Bolt" and "Kung Fu Panda," and picking up the Oscar for animated feature.
The film drew comparisons to Charlie Chaplin's finest work by its reliance in its first half-hour on stunning visuals, an almost complete lack of dialogue and the title character's poignant emotional attachment (in Wall-E's case, a videocassette of "Hello, Dolly!").
Critically celebrated, the movie appealed perhaps even more to adults than the children it was marketed to, with its strong love story and environmental message.
"It's been such an inspiration to spend time with a character who so tenaciously struggles to find the beauty in everything that he sees," said Stanton, who has been nominated for five Academy Awards and whose "Finding Nemo" won in the same category in 2003. "It's a noble aspiration to have at times like these."
One of his other nominations came for writing 1995's "Toy Story."
Stanton thanked his high school drama teacher, Phil Perry, for casting him as Barnaby in "Hello, Dolly!" -- the film version of which entrances and inspires his animated robotic character to pursue his love.
"Creative seeds are sown in the oddest of places so," he said in accepting his Oscar.