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Oscars: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron returning to produce 2015 show

It’s an Oscar hat trick for Craig Zadan and Neil Meron!

The powerful producing duo will produce the Oscars for the third time next year, the Academy announced Monday. This year’s show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres attracted the biggest ratings for any entertainment telecast in the last 10 years and generated the most-talked about (and retweeted) selfie ever.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.” READ FULL STORY

Oscar producers: Hitchockian heroine, and 'new' superhero among Academy Award plans -- EXCLUSIVE

Oscar is holding out for a hero.

The March 2 ceremony will be flexing its muscles this year, with the overall theme being a tribute to movie characters who save the day.

Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan sat down to talk with EW about what they’ve got in store: including an appearance by an iconic Hitchcockian femme fatale, and a tribute to superheroes that they (surprisingly) promise will bring viewers to tears.

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Oscar Return: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce show again

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After the ratings hit of their musical-infused, Seth MacFarlane-hosted Oscar telecast, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will be returning to again oversee next year’s ceremony.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that the duo, who previously produced such films as Chicago, Hairspray, and The Bucket List, would be coming back, which is unusually long lead-time. The ceremony will take place March 2, 2014.

There’s no host in place, of course, and it seems unlikely that MacFarlane would return. Just a few weeks before fulfilling his emcee duties, he was emphatic when asked by EW if he would consider doing the show again: “It’s cool to do it once,” he said. “I’m happy to be doing it this one time, but I just can’t take that kind of time out of my schedule again.”

Zadan and Meron have a fairly deep bench of contacts — they were able to get everyone from Jack Nicholson to Barbra Streisand to show up for the last show. Their relationships with young Hollywood are just as tight: perhaps Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Daniel Radcliffe, who tap-danced in the most recent show opener, could be persuaded to step into center stage as hosts?

“Craig and Neil have great relationships, a sense of showmanship, and a passion for our Academy,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement announcing their return. “And they’re a pleasure to work with.  All perfect qualities for our show.”

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Oscars: Norah Jones to get warm and fuzzy with 'Ted' theme

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Norah Jones will sing the jazzy Everybody Needs a Best Friend from the stuffed-bear comedy Ted on the upcoming Oscar telecast, the producers have announced.

The tune, which is up for Original Song, was co-written by Academy Awards host (and Ted filmmaker) Seth MacFarlane — so when producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron revealed last week that Adele would be crooning her nominated song from Skyfall, it was easy to assume this number would be part of the telecast as well. READ FULL STORY

Oscar broadcast plans tribute to recent movie musicals

prize_fighter1_bannerThis hills won’t come alive with the sound of music, and nobody will be singin’ in the rain, but The Oscars will be dedicating a portion of this year’s ceremony to movie musicals.

The producers of the Feb. 24 show announced today that they are planning a celebration of musical films from the past ten years, an era that starts with one they helped produce themselves — Chicago, which won Best Picture at the 2003 Academy Awards. READ FULL STORY

James Bond: Oscars to feature special 50th anniversary tribute

prize_fighter1_banner007 has a new reason to put on a tux.

Skyfall is the James Bond franchise’s strongest-ever shot at an Oscar for best picture, but whether the movie gets a nod or not, the 23-film spy series will be the subject of a special tribute at this year’s ceremony.

The producers of the Academy Awards announced today that the Feb. 24 telecast will take time for a look back at the legacy of the shaken-not-stirred superspy.

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Q&A: New 2013 Academy Awards producers hint at next year's show: Music! Emotion!

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Powerhouse Chicago and Smash producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron knew for years they wanted to produce the Academy Awards. Appropriately, in fact, The Bucket List co-producers had it on their own bucket list. Check!

Named on Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as producers of next year’s 85th annual awards ceremony, Zadan and Meron hinted to EW.com their hopes for the telecast (an emphasis on music and personal emotion), set to air live Feb. 24 on ABC. The lifelong musical lovers – Meron just watched a favorite, West Side Story, on Blu-ray the other day – have produced dozens of film, TV and theater projects ranging from 2002 Oscar winner Chicago, NBC Broadway TV show Smash, Broadway revival How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and 2007’s Hairspray and Footloose remakes. Zadan co-produced 1984’s beloved original Footloose. The pair has been nominated for eight Emmys, but no Oscars.
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