Ranking 1940s Animated Short Oscar Winners
Unlike the previous decade, the 40s proved to be a much more diverse decade when it comes to Oscar winners in this category. Yes, half of the winners come from Hanna-Barbera’s Tom and Jerry series, but the other half is pretty interesting with some Looney Tunes characters as well as Donald Duck being honored. So without further ado, let’s rank this rather interesting collection of shorts.
10.The Yankee Doodle Mouse
This is the first of the two Tom and Jerry shorts that did not deserve their Oscars at all. The Academy really did not honor the finest in the series, but this one is undeserved whether or not you agree with the other winners. Yes, the dynamite exchange in it was a lot of fun, but this is mostly such a disappointing entry in the series that is basically war propaganda and is quite repetitive in action. It is one of the most overrated films in this series and it easily takes the last spot on this list.
9. The Little Orphan
The Little Orphan benefits from a pretty funny finale, but it’s otherwise a tired affair and the second Tom and Jerry short that thoroughly didn’t deserve its Oscar. It is one of the most disappointing Nibbles shorts and it is the movie that is not only weak for the series’ standards, but also immensely forgettable.
8. The Milky Way
This is the only film on this list that doesn’t belong in any series and it is the first Oscar winner in the category to not come from Disney. Most would argue that it deserves to be the last one here, but I would argue otherwise. Yes, it is overly cute and the plot is basically non-existent, but as the movies of this type go, it is pleasant and more childlike than childish. Plus the score is rather good and the animation is simply gorgeous.
This famous Merry Melody stars Pepe Le Pew and although it only takes the number seven spot here, that shouldn’t take away from its quality as it is a great cartoon and that just indicates how the rest of the entries are all exceptionally strong. This famous character is so funny here and I just loved this film both in humor and in its very well executed scenarios. Some plot points weren’t properly explored, but this is for the most part a stupendous Merry Melody with many funny moments and it is a great vehicle for this classic character.
6. Quiet Please!
And we are back with Tom and Jerry with Quiet Please! – a film that isn’t one of the series’ best, but it is one of the better ones and definitely one of the finest stories with Spike who is so memorable here. The entire short has a classic premise to it and it is wonderfully entertaining while also being very funny with a couple of terrific gags in it.
5. The Cat Concerto
Even though I find this movie to be a bit overrated as it is a bit slow and certainly not in the top ten for the series, it is still a classic cartoon filled with many unforgettable moments. It also holds the distinction for being the first Tom and Jerry short to make use of the music perfectly and how it’s incorporated with the action here is nothing short of amazing. It is one of the most important cartoons of all time and it most definitely deserved its Academy Award.
The only flaw in this great movie is the ending which is lacking when compared to the rest of the picture, but the rest is simply terrific and this is the only Tweety cartoon to get the Oscar and it certainly deserved it as it is so funny while also being mostly perfectly constructed with a couple of terrific action sequences, a great use of its classic characters and a great beginning which wonderfully tells us how the two got to meet for the first time.
3. Der Fuehrer’s Face
Der Fuehrer’s Face is problematic for basically being a propaganda piece and that ending is way too pro-American and patriotic for my taste, but there is still no denying that the film is fantastic. Donald Duck has always been hilarious, but this time he is exceptionally funny and relatable and it just might be his best vehicle. But the animation is absolutely phenomenal, the soundtrack is so memorable and the film is very amusing while also being important.
2. Lend a Paw
Lend a Paw is another flawed film on this list, but that still manages to transcend those flaws remarkably well. The ending is disappointing as is the humor, but watching Pluto struggle with his bad side was just wonderful. The devil/angel dynamic is great, but it is the emotion that drives this flick. Mickey Mouse is good here, that kitten is so cute and Pluto is wonderful, but it is the heartwarming story and the relationship between the characters that propels this very underrated animated short to the second spot on my list.
1. Mouse Trouble
Mouse Trouble has to be the number one pick as it’s one of the best that Tom and Jerry has to offer. The premise here is classic and quintessential – Tom tries to catch the mouse in numerous ways, but fails every time. But because the execution is almost perfect, the movie ends up being an essential watch. The action is top-notch and it features some of the most amusing and perfectly elaborated scenes in the series, but the humor is also strong and the film is very funny and always entertaining. Thanks to all those reasons, Mouse Trouble is one of the best Tom and Jerry shorts and the most deserved Oscar winner of the 1940s.