From left: Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, in Les Misérables, and Catherine Zeta Jones, in Chicago
Universal (2); Miramax
Strike up the band, for Sunday night's Oscars
promise to be very
In the most detailed preview yet of what is to be expected – and what isn't – the 85th annual Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron tell Deadline.com
that their special tribute to the resurgence of movie musicals in the past decade will star Les Misérables nominees Hugh Jackman
and Anne Hathaway
with costars Russell Crowe
, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tevit, Samantha Barks, and Helena Bonham Carter; Dreamgirls
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson
; and Chicago
winner Catherine Zeta-Jones
"What we don't want to do is play it safe," says Zadan about the show in general, admitting – repeatedly – that the job of producing it is "enormous."
So is the Oscar night orchestra: 60 pieces. Accompanying all those instruments will be:
The previously announced
Barbra Streisand has only sung once before on the show (and that was 36 years ago)
Golden Globe song winner Adele
("Skyfall" is up for Best Song) and "Goldfinger" diva Shirley Bassey, an Oscar newbie
, who'll appear as part of the James Bond 50th anniversary tribute
And the evening's host, Seth MacFarlane
, who's been known to break into song on more than one occasion – such as when he hosted SNL
"It's not going to be three hours but we will try to get it close to that," says Zadan. (There are 24 categories
Six college filmmaking students will serve as Oscar presenters after winning a contest to be on the show.
The 007 tribute
feature a reunion of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore
, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig
MacFarlane's opening monologue is "clever and sort of unique … like a throwback to the days of Bob Hope
and Johnny Carson
," says Zadan.
Streisand's number is being kept a secret, "but we love the speculation," says Meron.
The 85th annual Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.