His long-time friend and frequent collaborator, Johnny Depp, said as he presented the award: "Tim is a rare breed in today's cinema: he is a true original, a true artist, a true auteur. He's my favorite director and friend. So ... let's give him the thing, man."
Burton accepted the honor and offered an eight-minute preview of his upcoming film "Sweeney Todd," which stars Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter, the mother of Burton’s 4-year-old son, Billy Ray, and a child due this year.
The clip of Burton’s adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical featured Carter and Depp singing "My Friends."
"It's quite uncharted territory. I don't think there are that many horror movie musicals out there these days. It will be interesting to see what happens with it."
"Sweeney Todd" is Burton and Depp's sixth collaboration.