1938: Walt Disney received an honorary award for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” where he received one normal sized statue and seven miniature ones.

snow white still
“Snow White” was Disney’s first full length animated picture. 

Though “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” didn’t win its Oscar nomination for best original score, Disney was given an honorary award to recognize the feature’s innovation in filmmaking.

Disney didn’t only receive one statue. He received one regular-sized statue and seven miniature Oscars to denote the film’s seven dwarfs.

1940: “Pinocchio” was the first animated Disney film to receive an official Oscar.

“Pinocchio” was honored at the 13th Oscars. 

After a few nominations, Disney won its first major Academy Awards for one of its animated features.

“Pinocchio” won two Oscars for best original score and best original song, “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

1941: “Dumbo” won an Oscar the following year for best original score.

“Dumbo” was nominated for two music Oscars. 

“Dumbo” was also nominated for best original song that year for “Baby Mine,” but lost out to “The Last Time I Saw Paris” from “Lady Be Good.”

1990: “The Little Mermaid” brought prestige back to Disney, which went on to dominate Oscars for animated movies. It won Oscars for best score and song.

The Little Mermaid Diamond, ariel
“The Little Mermaid.” 

After around two decades of mostly forgettable movies, Walt Disney Animation Studios produced “The Little Mermaid” to critical acclaim. It won the Oscar for best original score, and “Under the Sea” won for best original song.

1992: “Beauty and the Beast” broke Oscar records.
beauty and the beast
“Beauty and the Beast.” 

The movie was nominated for six Oscars, winning for best score and best original song, for the song “Beauty and the Beast.” “Be Our Guest” and “Belle” were also nominated in the best song category.

The movie also received a best picture nomination, the first animated movie in history to do so, as well as one for best sound. It retains the title of the animated movie with the most Oscar nominations, tied with 2008’s “Wall-E.”

1993: “Aladdin” kept up Disney’s streak.
Aladdin holding lamp

The movie received the same awards as its predecessor, for best score and best song, honoring “A Whole New World.”

“Friend Like Me” was also nominated in the song category, and the movie received nominations in the best sound and best sound effects editing categories.

1995: “The Lion King” followed in their footsteps.

The Lion King
“The Lion King.” 

Continuing Disney’s hot streak, “The Lion King” also won Oscars for best score and best original song (the latter for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”). The songs “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” were also nominated in the song category.

1996: “Pocahontas” won two Oscars even though “Toy Story” had more nominations.


1995 was a milestone year for animated features. Pixar studios, founded by a class of ex-Disney animators, released its first feature, “Toy Story,” which was instantly hailed as a masterpiece. The movie received three nominations, plus a special achievement award for director John Lasseter.

But the traditional Disney movie remained dominant in the end. “Pocahantas” won both of its nominations: in the score category— now renamed “Original Musical or Comedy Score” — and in the song category for “Colors of the Wind.”

1999: A new studio broke through as “The Prince of Egypt” wins an Oscar.

prince of egypt
“The Prince of Egypt.” 

For the 1998 Oscars, both Disney’s “Hercules” and 20th Century Fox’s “Anastasia” received nominations, but they were shut out by the dominance of “Titanic.”

But in 1999, “The Prince of Egypt” won an award, for “When You Believe” in the original song category. “The Prayer” from “Quest for Camelot” was also nominated in that category. It was also nominated alongside “A Bug’s Life” and “Mulan” in the “Best Original Musical or Comedy Score,” which existed in the mid-1990s, but lost them all to “Shakespeare in Love.”

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