Ranking 1940s Animated Short Oscar Winners

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.

 

The Yankee Doodle Mouse

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Milky Way

 

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.

 

 

 

For Scent-imental Reasons7. For Scent-imental Reasons

 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.

 

 

Quiet Please!

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.

 

 

 

 

The Cat Concerto

 

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.

 

 

Tweetie Pie Review4. Tweetie Pie

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.

 

Der Fuehrer's Face

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.

 

 

Lend a Paw Review

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.

 

 

 Mouse Trouble

 

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.

Share

Happy Go Ducky (1958)

Happy Go Ducky ReviewHappy Go Ducky Review

Happy Go Ducky is a 1958 animated short that is the 113th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is a typical Quacker outing.

This is such a typical Quacker short that represents everything that is wrong with his movies. It is incredibly slight and the storyline is somewhat lazy and not particularly exciting, but you can’t deny its cuteness and heart. Here the cat and mouse get their Easter present which turns out to be Quacker. He starts to bring chaos to the house by continually finding watery places to swim.

It lacks in terms of humor and it is rather repetitive, but watching the little duckling swim excitedly is heartwarming and just wonderful. He is the best thing about this otherwise bland effort. And I have to say that I liked Tom and Jerry working together here and the ending in particular was very sweet.

In the end, Happy Go Ducky definitely is slight and repetitive, but wonderfully endearing with a cute and fun Quacker.

 My Rating – 4

Share

Top Ten Tom and Jerry Films

Top Ten Tom and Jerry Films

Tom and Jerry is one of the most important classic series of animated shorts. Not only was it refreshingly brutal and mature for its time, but it is to this day entertaining and not to be missed for anyone who consider themselves animation fans. These characters are iconic, most of their films are terrific and it was tough making this list. You will see the pattern here in which most of the entries are older as the fifties proved to be the declining era for the duo. And another thing is that this is my personal opinion which means that a lot of these wouldn’t be on other top ten lists. So without further ado, here are the top ten Tom and Jerry films in my opinion.

 The Million Dollar Cat

10. The Million Dollar Cat

In this 1944 Tom and Jerry entry, Tom inherits a large sum of money and in order to preserve it, he mustn’t harm the mouse. This premise is ripe for this series and it was executed almost flawlessly here. The use of dialogue is troublesome, but what makes this cartoon so great are Tom’s signature yelps which are hilarious and various amusing situations which are all so well utilized and in the most entertaining manner possible.

 

 

 

9. Baby PussBaby Puss Review

This is one of those entries that are most certainly excessive in violence. I liked that as this time around Jerry got the same treatment. It was hilarious watching Jerry join Tom in vomiting in the finale and that final moment is perfect. But everything that came before it is also great and it is one of the best films with the other cats as Butch, Topsy and Meathead are all phenomenal here. This is one of the craziest entries for sure, the one filled with violence and an admirable, weird energy to it.

 

Designs on Jerry Review8. Designs on Jerry

Here the big cat designs the machine to catch Jerry, but both the stick-mouse and cat come to life and the chase quickly starts. This is undoubtedly one of the most original Tom and Jerry shorts ever as the animation is amazing and this high-concept idea is fulfilled with absolutely terrific action. I love this short and it definitely deserves to be the only 1950s effort to land on this list.

 

 

 

7. Heavenly PussHeavenly Puss Review

Heavenly Puss perfectly made use of the heaven obsession which was overwhelming in the forties. It is one of the best animated shorts for sure as it is gorgeous to look at, but it’s also a great, different episode where we explore another setting for once and it was accompanied by terrific score and animation. But even though it turned out it was all just a dream, that ending was still priceless in humor and just heartwarming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Mouse in the House6. A Mouse in the House

Tom and Butch get an order from Mammy to catch a mouse or they’ll be kicked out of the house. I adored this entry for various reasons. First of all, you get Butch and Tom in probably their best episode ever. Second of all, you get awesome Mammy who is so funny here. The humor is great and the action is quite good, but it is the ending in which both cats are kicked out of the house followed by Jerry that is the standout as we rarely see the mouse get the same treatment and it was very amusing and admirable for that.

 

5. Mouse TroubleMouse Trouble

This 1944 classic Tom and Jerry short is one of the few deserved Oscar winners as unfortunately the Academy usually failed to give the award to the actual best entries from this series. But this time they made the right choice as this movie is fantastic. Tom tries to catch Jerry in numerous ways, but fails every time. It is a basic, but nonetheless quintessential formula for the duo and this entry has some of the best action sequences ever for the series.

 

Sufferin' Cats!

 

4. Sufferin’ Cats

For anyone looking for the best cartoon with the cat Meathead in it, look no further. This is it, the very best that this character has to offer. Watching him and Tom fight over Jerry was hilarious and this movie is one of the funniest and most purely entertaining in the series’ history. But it is also one of the most violent and I was quite shocked with some of the more gruesome scenes here. It also has such a fantastic ending and it is just terrific from start to finish.

 

 

 

3. Solid SerenadeSolid Serenade

This is my personal favorite on this list. Not the best, but my favorite nonetheless as I loved this one as a kid and I love it now as well as it is just so great. It is one of the rare instances where Tom’s voice is put to good use, it has some of the best animation ever for the duo as it is gorgeous to behold and it has terrific action sequences, perfectly executed and exciting. But Spike is amazing here and so memorable plus that ending with the dog house is just perfect with the maniacal laugh from both Tom and Spike being one of the funniest moments in any Tom and Jerry cartoon.

 

Fine Feathered Friend 

 

 

2. Fine Feathered Friend

Fine Feathered Friend benefits from some of the best supporting characters in that mother hen who humiliates Tom in some of the worst and most violent ways possible. This cartoon is exceptional not only in action which is top-notch, but also in humor as you can’t help but laugh at Tom’s misfortune here. It ends in such a shockingly violent manner, but that is something that distinguishes this series from other animated stuff and that edge to it I always respected and it’s definitely most evident and most admirable here.

 

 

1. The Night Before ChristmasThe Night Before Christmas

Yes, The Night Before Christmas has to get the number one spot. Yes, I know that it isn’t the usual choice and it isn’t the funniest cartoon for sure. But the reason why it’s the best one in my opinion has to be its importance. It is the very first entry in Tom and Jerry series where we see that the two are actually friends and kudos to the filmmakers for presenting that in the most heartwarming manner possible. This is easily the most emotional and most beautiful entry ever for the duo and watching Tom melt Jerry after he’s been frozen outside will melt your heart. And those final moments where Jerry removes the traps he’d made for Tom earlier are just wonderful. The Night Before Christmas has a huge heart and it showcases the best in both the cat and the mouse which is why it is to me their finest episode.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Cue Ball CatThis one perfectly utilizes the setting of the pool hall and it features some of the finest action moments in the series as well as having both characters being equal in the fights.

The Cat ConcertoThis is of course the most famous and most acclaimed Tom and Jerry cartoon and although it utilizes music in it perfectly, it is a bit too slow for me.

Trap Happy Exhilarating in action and violent, Trap Happy also has a great use of Butch and is an all around satisfying and incredibly entertaining action-packed part.

Share

Give and Tyke (1957)

Give and Tyke ReviewGive and Tyke Review

Give and Tyke is a 1957 animated short that is the first of the two Spike and Tyke spin-offs in Tom and Jerry series.

Can Tom and Jerry succeed without, well, Tom and Jerry? Hmm, yes and no. This film is quite solid, but nothing remarkable as it has many flaws that really hurt it in the long run. One is the lack of humor at first and really the entire first half is pretty dull and uninspired. And another problem is the animation which is not as polished as the series is famous for. This time it looks rather cheap.

But Give and Tyke is still pretty solid owing to that amazing ending. That alley dog isn’t particularly well utilized, but in the ending itself, he is marvelous. The same goes for Spike. That entire situation was perfectly executed. And I liked the overall plot about stray dogs and dog licenses, even if it wasn’t used in a great way.

Give and Tyke is at first rather dull and the animation is weak, but the ending is awesome and the characters are solidly put to use.

 My Rating – 3.8

Share

Timid Tabby (1957)

Timid Tabby ReviewTimid Tabby Review

 Timid Tabby is a 1957 animated short that is the 109th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is such a good, authentic entry that is one of the best in recent memory.

Timid Tabby follows George who is Tom’s cousin who has a fear of mice. But because he looks identical to him, Jerry mistakes him for Tom and thinks that he is scaring him. Eventually, the two scare Jerry away of the house by joining bodies in a grotesque figure. Needless to say, this kind of plot is so original and revitalized the series that’s been struggling recently.

Some of the middle parts did feel repetitive, but George is the reason why the film is so good. This is the newly introduced guest character that thoroughly works. He is memorable and brings a new, interesting dynamic to the duo. Tom is excellent here and I loved the ending where Jerry goes to a mental hospital after being scared to death by the two, though I do wish that Jerry wasn’t fooled that quickly. The short is also very funny with a couple of moments being absolutely hysterical.

Timid Tabby is original and funny, featuring a great new character in George and such a fun premise that paid off immensely both in action and in humor.

 My Rating – 4.2

Share

Tops with Pops (1957)

Tops with Pops ReviewTops with Pops Review

Tops with Pops is a 1956 animated short that is the 108th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is such a pointless remake.

Tops with Pops is a shot-for-shot remake of ‘Love That Pup‘ and I just don’t see the point in that. They literally repeated the entire movie, but just done in different animation style this time around. Needless to say, it is incredibly lazy and just so frustrating that they continue to do this.

But the reason why I liked it is because it reminded me of the original which is just so great. I loved watching it again as the action is so good and Spike, Jerry and Tom are all truly superb here. The ending is great and the entire short is incredibly entertaining and so well crafted. But despite this nice new look to it, it is just repeated and nothing new is added to the table.

Tops with Pops is a pointless shot-for-shot remake that reminded me how great the original film was, but that is basically all there is to it.

 My Rating – 3

Share

Tot Watchers (1958)

Tot Watchers ReviewTot Watchers Review

 Tot Watchers is a 1958 animated short that is the last Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is a very flawed entry.

I wish I could say that Tot Watchers is a perfect swan song for the duo, but it unfortunately just isn’t. It is solid and not bad for sure, but it’s certainly far from great as it basically repeats the formula of ‘Busy Buddies‘. That means that it is uninspired and the action itself is quite lacking and some of it is rather repetitive.

However, it still has its moments. Jeannie is once again hilarious and the inclusion of the police certainly made it feel more fresh. I really liked that ending as it was very funny and this particular premise couldn’t have concluded in a better way. Tot Watchers benefits from those great moments, but they sadly come too far in-between.

Tot Watchers is a disappointing last entry as it has its moments, but is rather uninspired and repetitive.

 My Rating – 3.7

Share

Robin Hoodwinked (1958)

Robin Hoodwinked ReviewRobin Hoodwinked  Review

 Robin Hoodwinked is a 1958 animated short that is the penultimate Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is a solid, interesting outing.

What I didn’t like about Robin Hoodwinked is how it didn’t utilize its premise particularly well, especially the setting and time period as rarely do we see anything really entertaining here. And Nibbles speaks differently which was unusual and weird. However, I still liked Nibbles as he was the most fun character this time around.

That sequence with Tom is prolonged, but very well executed and I really liked the use of red wine and that Nibbles actually did get drunk. Some of the imagery, especially the castle, is memorable and the animation and score are both pretty good. The ending is very sweet and a lot of fun.

Robin Hoodwinked definitely doesn’t utilize its potential, but is fun, sometimes very interesting and mostly satisfying.

 My Rating – 4

Share

The Vanishing Duck (1958)

The Vanishing Duck ReviewThe Vanishing Duck Review

 The Vanishing Duck is a 1958 animated short that is the 115th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is pretty good as the last Quacker outing.

Yes, this is one of the last Tom and Jerry cartoons and the final one featuring the little duckling. And although I had some problems with it, it is definitely pretty good. One of the problems is its familiarity as invisibility is hardly a new thing for this series. And another problem is that the film was way too talkative in my opinion.

But other than that, the characters of Quacker and Tom make this cartoon as Jerry is forgettable. Tom is so funny and I loved that he came victorious at the end. But Quacker’s talk does produce many laughs and he truly is such a lovable creation and one of the most successful supporting characters in the series. This entry is also pretty good in action and that tail trick sequence is just amazing, so inventive and one of my favorite moments ever in Tom and Jerry.

The Vanishing Duck is familiar, but so well executed with many memorable moments and an excellent use of Quacker and Tom.

 My Rating – 4.1

Share

Royal Cat Nap (1958)

Royal Cat Nap ReviewRoyal Cat Nap Review

Royal Cat Nap is a 1958 animated short that is the 114th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is a phenomenal, truly funny entry.

This is easily the finest Three Mouseketeers short of all and undoubtedly the best Tom and Jerry cartoon in years, it’s that good! The French king wants to sleep and orders tom to make sure Jerry and Tuffy don’t wake him up. The premise is great, if not terribly original. I loved the execution of it and, although the beginning and the ending aren’t as strong, the entire second act is just brilliant.

The humor here is awesome. I haven’t laughed this much watching Tom and Jerry since its earliest years. Tom’s going out for a yelp was just brilliant and perfectly executed and so incredibly funny. I laughed out loud whenever that happened. I loved how the two mice were used and the dynamic between the three here is superb. There are so many great situations here, so many laughs leading to such a terrific entry.

Royal Cat Nap is hilarious, entertaining and so well executed. It’s the best entry in the series in quite a while.

 My Rating – 4.2

Share