LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – As preparations for next Sunday's Academy Awards move into high gear, the show's producers have booted a number of familiar elements.
Gone will be the movie montages -- like last year's salute to horror movies -- that often contribute to the broadcast's unwieldy running time. While there will be film clips from the ten best picture nominees and brief filmed introductions to different segments of the show, "Within the body of the show, we are not doing any film montage sequences," said Bruce Cohen, who will produce with Don Mischer.
Gone too will be the relatively new tradition, established just two years ago, of using five presenters to offer tribute testimonials about each of the best actor and actress nominees. "We're not going to do that this year," Cohen told the Hollywood Reporter. "What we did love about it was that it was a moment where each of the nominees really gets their due. (But) we found a version of that, without using the five people on stage, from the 1970 Oscars, and we stole it."
The producers also have enlisted the nominees' mothers to participate in promotion and pre-show activities, and some of them will be in the audience for the telecast.
This year's producing team is restoring individual performances of the four nominated songs, which were eliminated last year. Producers were upset that Cher, a major audience draw, was not nominated for her Burlesque ballad, "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me."
"We were surprised, and we were disappointed," Cohen says when of the song, which won its composer Diane Warren a Golden Globe but failed to earn an Academy nomination.
They have lined up most of the other names associated with the songs that were nominated, though: Oscar perennial Randy Newman will perform his "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3"; Mandy Moore and Zachary Levy, who sang the duet "I See The Light" on the "Tangled" soundtrack will reteam with composer Alan Menken; and Gwyneth Paltrow, who sings "Coming Home" in "Country Strong" will reprise that tune on the broadcast.
Because English pop singer Dido, who was nominated along with Rollo Armstrong and A.R. Rahman for the song "If I Rise," from "127 Hours" was not available, the producers have drafted Florence Welch from Grammy-nominated act Florence + the Machine to appear with Rahman.
"We feel we really lucked out, and this is a good year to bring the best song performances back," Cohen says.