Sunday, Feb. 24 the world will be watching when the 85th Academy Awards airs. We will watch with baited breath to see who the Academy has chosen for this years top honors in film. “Oscar buzz” is discussed in media and print for months before the awards ceremony and everyone will have a close eye on the nominees to see who will walk away with the coveted golden statues.
The long and illustrious history of this awards show has dazzled audiences for decades and extends its reach beyond Hollywood right into our living rooms. What is it about those little golden statues that lures our attention? Perhaps it’s the symbol of the hopes and dreams of the star in all of us, a celebration of the one’s who had the courage to make their dreams a reality. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it” and in 1938 he received a set of unique Oscar statuettes (one regular sized statue and seven small statuettes) for recognition of significant screen innovation in his first animated full length feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
This film was the first of its kind and the thought of people paying to watch animated characters on the big screen was considered absurd to most. This film quickly became referred to as “Walt’s folly”, with critics predicting the demise of Walt Disney and his studios. Instead, this film charmed its way into the hearts of movie goers in December 1937 and held the number one position for highest grossing film for over a year, until the release of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
In honor of the 85th Academy Awards and my love for Walt Disney and the dreamer in all of us, here are seven things you may not know about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
- Walt Disney came up with the idea for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at age 15, after seeing a presentation of the silent film staring Marguerite Clark.
Disney Studios in Burbank was built with the profits from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- It was the first animated feature to be selected for the National FIlm Registry.
The Prince was originally a much more prominent character, but the difficulty animating him forced animators to reduce his part significantly.
- There is a Hidden Mickey formed by three stones on the wall behind the Queen as she strides down to the basement to perform her spell.
This was the first of Walt’s films to have its premier engagement at New York City’s Radio Music Hall. At the end of the initial engagement for the film all the seats had to be replaced. Young children were so afraid of the scene where Snow White is lost in the forest they wet their pants, and therefore the seats, at each and every showing of the film.
- In the scene where the dwarfs are sent off to wash before dinner, animator Frank Thomas had Dopey do a hitch step to catch up with the others. Walt liked it so much he had the step added to other scenes, causing the animators a lot of extra work.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs paved the way for the future of animation and the success of the Walt Disney Studios and other animation houses. The Animated Feature Film category has the Disney/Pixar film “Brave” contending for the coveted trophy up against “Wreck it Ralph” (Disney) and three stop-motion animation films: “Frankenweenie”, “Pirates! Band of Misfits” and “ParaNorman”.
The aforementioned facts are courtesy of IMDB.com, which has a much more comprehensive list of movie trivia, Disney and otherwise. Test your knowledge as you tune in to the 85th Academy Awards and root for your favorites.