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J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine and Alfonso Cuaron to Announce Oscar Nominations

The 87th annual Academy Award nominations will be unveiled in two parts on Jan. 15, Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have announced. It’s the first time that all 24 categories will be announced live.

“Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams and “Gravity” helmer Alfonso Cuaron will announce the first batch of nominees at 5:30 a.m. PT, while actor Chris Pine and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs will reveal the rest of the noms at 5:38 a.m. PT.

“Each of the three years we’ve produced the show, we have attempted to refresh elements of the process and the telecast,” said Zadan and Meron. “This year, we’re honored to start a new tradition that celebrates the contributions of all the nominees by announcing all 24 categories. We’re thrilled that a distinguished actor and two world-class film directors are part of the initial launch.”

Abrams and Cuaron will announce the following categories first: animated feature film, documentary feature, documentary short subject, film editing, original song, production design, animated short film, live-action short film, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects.

Minutes later, Pine and Boone Isaacs will reveal the Oscar nominations for lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor,  supporting actress, cinematography, costume design, directing, foreign-language film, makeup and hairstyling, original score, adapted screenplay, original screenplay and best picture.

“We’re delighted to have Chris, Alfonso and J.J. participate in the excitement of nominations morning, which, for the first time, will highlight nominees in all categories,” said Boone Isaacs in a statement. “This new approach enables the Academy to further recognize excellence across our entire industry and underscore the full spectrum of the arts and sciences of motion pictures.”

In an interview with Variety, Zadan spoke about how the idea of making a full announcement actually dates back to before he and Meron were producers on the show. “I remember Neil and I would be up early the morning of the nominations, we had nothing to do with the Oscars, and we would be frustrated,” he said. “We’d say, ‘OK we know those nominees, but what about the other nominees, and how many nominations did that movie get?’ We always sort of wondered what would happen if they did them all.”

When it was pointed out that the three presenters joining Boone Isaacs all come from science-fiction franchises, Meron said it was pure coincidence. “When we looked for people to join Cheryl on that stage, we looked for people that had wide reach around the world. And these three gentlemen made the most sense to us,” he stated. “Not really putting the sci-fi bent into any sort of focus for us — it just turned out that way. And those films speak to big audiences, and this really, really shines a light on every single category by having them.”

Noted Zadan, “Besides, Chris Pine is no longer a sci-fi person, he’s a musical comedy person!” referring to the actor’s current turn in “Into the Woods.”

Zadan also mentioned how gracious presenters were when producers reached out to them. “When we explained what we wanted to do, their responses were, ‘Wow, I want to be part of this, thank you so much for asking,'” he said. “You go into this thinking you’re asking someone a favor to get up in the middle of the night to do these announcements, and they were so generous and excited to be a part of it.”

Asked if they had any plans on how to reach more viewers, Meron would only say, “There’s lots to look forward to this year.”

The 87th Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, are set for Feb. 22 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

An earlier version of this story said Oscar nominations would take place Jan. 16. The correct date is Jan. 15.

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