The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, posts incredible archival material on their YouTube page, including dozens of Oscar presentations for the animated short category. It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of the award through these clips.
During the Golden Age of Hollywood, producers accepted the award instead of the directors, so notorious dullards like Eddie Selzer and Fred Quimby accepted (and owned) Oscars in place of the actual film directors like Chuck Jones, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. Similarly, when Ward Kimball won for Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom, Walt Disney accepted for him, and to add insult to injury, Walt forgot which category he had won and thought he was accepting an award for one of his live-action documentaries. Thankfully, artists like Jones and Kimball eventually got their moment in the spotlight when they won their second Oscars.
In the long view of history, some of the videos now look bizarre, such as watching O.J. Simpson present the award for best animated short. Other videos provide context for subsequent events, like the evening that Polish filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczynski won the Oscar for Tango and was immediately arrested afterward. Most of the videos aren’t accompanied with such drama, but it’s still lots of fun to watch such a fantastic group of filmmakers from throughout animation history being recognized for their work.