Oscar: Special Junior Awards–Deanna Durbin and Mickey Rooney, 1939

Special Junior Awards

The Academy has acknowledged the importance of star children as box-office champions with Special (Junior) Awards.

In 1939, Deanna Durbin and Mickey Rooney were awarded miniature Oscar trophies. Durbin was honored for her performance in her first feature, Three Smart Girls, which made her a star and also saved Universal from bankruptcy.

Rooney received the award in recognition of his Andy Hardy movies, “for significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth and as a juvenile player setting a high standard of ability and achievement.”

In 1940, Judy Garland won a Special Oscar as “the year’s best juvenile performer,” for her appearance in the musical The Wizard of Oz, one of MGM’s al-‘time smash hits.

Other children were honored with a Special Oscar in the 1940s, but later, youthful performances qualified for nominations in the legitimate awards.

If you want to know more about this issue, please read my book, All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards (Continuum Int’l, 2004 paperback