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by Kirby C. Holt
A Toon Talk Special:
"Isn't it bright and shiny? Aren't you proud, Mr. Disney?"
Walt Disney and
Those words were spoken by the then-biggest movie star in the world to the creator of another global phenomenon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The night was February 23, 1939, and the occasion was the 11th Annual Academy Awards. Walt Disney was being honored for his latest contribution to the world of film, the first American full-length animated feature. At the time, Walt already had nine Oscars, but this one was a little different: a one of a kind tribute to his blockbuster hit about a fairy tale princess and her seven little companions. Presented by Shirley Temple, the Academy Award he received that night consisted of one regular size Oscar accompanied by seven smaller ones, all arranged on a pedestal, making for one very unique trophy. One could say Walt took home eight Oscars that night; it would -- by far -- not be his last big haul at Hollywood’s big night.
Finding success at around the same time, Walt and Oscar became very good friends over the years. As a producer of a multitude of winning cartoons, documentaries and feature films, Walt would become the biggest Oscar winner of all time -- with an unchallenged 26 awards (the closest contender has only eleven). That figure includes 22 from the competitive races and four special awards, including (in addition to the one for Snow White) one for the creation of Mickey Mouse (1932), one for the innovative sound used for Fantasia (1940) and the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (1949), an honor bestowed upon the best motion picture producers. Walt also holds the record for the most consecutive nominations: from 1941 to 1962, he was nominated at least once every year, for a total of 22 years in a row. He even won an Oscar after he died in 1966, for 1968’s Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.