Robert Lee Zemeckis (born May 14, 1952) is an American filmmaker and screenwriter frequently credited as an innovator in visual effects. Credited as "one of the greatest visual storytellers in filmmaking", he first came to public attention in the 1980s as the director of Romancing the Stone (1984) and the science-fiction comedy Back to the Future film trilogy, as well as the live-action/animated comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). In the 1990s he diversified into more dramatic fare, including 1994's Forrest Gump, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director. The film itself won Best Picture. The movies he has directed have ranged across a wide variety of genres, for both adults and families. Zemeckis' films are characterized by an interest in state-of-the-art special effects, including the early use of the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage in Back to the Future Part II (1989), and in Forrest Gump and the pioneering performance capture techniques seen in The Polar Express (2004), Beowulf (2007) and A Christmas Carol (2009). Though Zemeckis has often been pigeonholed as a director interested only in effects, his work has been defended by several critics, including David Thomson, who wrote that "No other contemporary director has used special effects to more dramatic and narrative purpose."