The 86th Academy Awards March 2 will be a celebration of movie heroes, honoring big-screen depictions of real-life individuals, superheroes and animated ones.

"We wanted to unify the show with an entertaining and emotional theme," said producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. "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." They added that the salutes will include tributes to filmmakers and actors, but offered no other details.

Ellen DeGeneres will host the show, airing live on ABC.

Tied in with the theme, the Academy will present "The Oscars Celebrates Movie Heroes," an exhibition in the Grand Lobby Gallery of its Beverly Hills headquarters Jan. 17-March 5. The show will feature still photographs and posters from 70 titles spanning nine decades, as well as video montages.

Nominations for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced Thursday at 5:35 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater by Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth.

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