At one point, the only way you'd have seen Tom and Jerry, Droopy, Bugs Bunny, Superman, and Popeye in one sitting was to watch cartoons on local TV. Now, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings them together on their new Academy Awards Animation Collection featuring 15 Academy Award-winning and 26 Academy Award-nominated animated shorts. Although classic animation fans will notice some overlap with previous DVD sets, there is more than enough here to warrant checking this collection out.
The first thing to note about this set is that all the cartoons are uncut. Two of the three discs in the set begin with a text disclaimer similar to that on the Looney Tunes Golden Collections. The 41 cartoons on the set are spread across three discs. Disc one features the Academy Award-winning shorts while discs two and three feature the Academy Award-nominated shorts.
There is great variety to be found on this set. Many of the nominated and winning shorts feature the first appearances of popular characters including Tom and Jerry (“Puss Gets The Boot,”), Speedy Gonzales (cartoon of the same name), Bugs Bunny (“A Wild Hare”), and Foghorn Leghorn (“Walky Talky Hawky”). This set also includes the first Sylvester and Tweety cartoon (“Tweety Pie”) and the first Superman cartoon.
Although this collection is somewhat dominated by Tom and Jerry cartoons (there are 13 here in all), there are many other excellent cartoons. Friz Freleng's brilliant “Birds Anonymous” has Sylvester attempting to give up birds. “Peace On Earth” is a haunting anti-war cartoon that has animals living in a world without humans. It's on the same disc as Tex Avery's hilarious “Blitz Wolf,” a twist on “The Three Little Pigs” with the Big Bad Wolf being a thinly veiled parody of Hitler. Little Ralph Phillips daydreams in school in Chuck Jones' excellent “From A to Z-Z-Z-Z” and Popeye sparkles in full color in “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor.” The inclusion of “So Much For So Little” is notable because it's the only cartoon in this collection that wasn't nominated for a Best Animated Short Subject Oscar. This informational film won in a tie for Best Documentary Short Subject.