"We wanted to unify the show with an entertaining and emotional theme," said Zadan and Meron in a statement. "People around the world go to the movies to be inspired by the characters they see on the screen. By celebrating the gamut of heroes who have enriched our movie-going experience, we hope to create an evening of fun and joy. And that includes the filmmakers and actors who take risks and stimulate us with provocative subjects and daring characters. They are all heroes in the cinematic landscape."
The awards show, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will honor real-life heroes, super heroes, popular heroes and animated heroes — both past and present — as well as the filmmakers who bring them to life.
"Of course, there will be no shortage of comedy with Ellen DeGeneres as our host," Zadan and Meron added. "There may also be a few musical surprises along the way."
To coincide with the Oscar telecast theme, the Academy will present "The Oscars Celebrates Movie Heroes," an exhibition in the Grand Lobby Gallery of its Beverly Hills headquarters. On display Jan. 17-March 5, the exhibit will feature still photographs and posters from 70 titles spanning nine decades as well as video montages comprised of excerpts from classic and contemporary films.
The exhibit will include films centered on real-life heroes ("Gandhi," "Silkwood"), super heroes ("Superman," "The Dark Knight"), animated heroes ("Shrek," "The Incredibles"), action heroes ("Seven Samurai," "Gladiator"), literary heroes ("To Kill a Mockingbird," "Grapes of Wrath") and more. The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live Jan. 16 at 5:35 AM PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater by Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth.
The Oscar presentation, produced by Zadan and Meron, will also be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.