February 27, 1942 – The Daily Variety Runs Article “Walt Disney Weeps as He Gets Oscar”
“I want to thank everybody here. This is a vote of confidence from the whole industry.”
On February 27, 1942, the Daily Variety ran an article entitled “Walt Disney Weeps as He Gets Oscar,” recounting how Disney received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award the night before at the Academy Awards. The award itself is not an annual award, but awarded periodically to those individuals that brought high quality work to the motion picture industry. Disney was the fourth person to win the award, and he was emotional upon winning, as this seemed to be validation from the film industry for his then-relatively small body of work in animation (which included short films and only four animated feature films: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo). This award was particularly special for Disney, as the film Fantasia had not done as well as hoped at the box office, and while Disney called it “a [mistake] but it was an honest one,” he was still lauded by the presenter as presenting a new and novel way to educate the public about classical music. Thalberg’s widow Norma Shearer was at the ceremony and gave Disney a kiss after he returned to his seat.