Oscars Telecast 2012: 7 Things That'll Be Different This Year

From a Cirque du Soleil performance to Muppet presenters and potential broken records, here's what to watch for on Feb. 26

Regular Oscar viewers might notice a few differences when they tune in to Sunday's telecast (airing live at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC). The annual awards show is incorporating a handful of changes this year, some of which will have a big impact on the ceremony and others that viewers likely won't even notice. Time magazine has highlighted the differences so viewers can be prepared.

Difference No. 1: The first big change is in the name of the venue. While the ceremony will be held in the same space that it has been for the past 10 years, it no longer goes by the moniker "Kodak Theatre." That's because Kodak has filed for bankruptcy and thus given up the rights to the title of the venue, which was built a decade ago for the sole purpose of staging the Oscars. Now that the theater is nameless, however, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could pick a new setting for the Oscars as early as 2014.

Difference No. 2: This year's ceremony marks the return of the orchestra pits after a few years' absence. Beloved composer Hans Zimmer (he's the guy you have to thank for The Dark Knight and Sherlock Holmes scores) will be conducting the night, which is exciting indeed. He's also serving as music consultant alongside Pharrell, which promises some exciting collaborations.

Difference No. 3: This one isn't a guarantee, but hinges on the success of The Artist at this year's show. If the black-and-white silent film does take home the best picture prize (as many expect it will), the film will become the first silent movie to win the prize since the very first Oscars ceremony in 1929. And it will be the first black-and-white picture to win since 1993's Schindler's List.

Difference No. 4: Another big departure this year is that there will be no performances of the best original song nominees -- likely because only two songs were nominated, and they were from children's movies Rio and The Muppets.

Difference No. 5: However, The Muppets will still get some love on the show. Kermit and Miss Piggy are presenting one of the awards -- a development that we'll count as difference No. 5, despite the fact that the pig and frog are wily Oscar vets: This will be their fifth career appearance at the awards.

Difference No. 6: This one should actually be pretty cool -- and very noticeable to folks at home. To replace the best original song performances, the Academy is bringing in Cirque du Soleil for their first-ever Oscars gig. The troupe already performs their show IRIS: A Journey Through the World of Cinema in the location formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, so we'll likely see some variation of that since they're familiar with the space.

Difference No. 7: And -- drumroll, please, -- here is another potential change: This year could set a new record for oldest actor to win an Academy Award. At 82 years young, Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow, the two front-runners for best supporting actor, are older than Jessica Tandy, whose win for Driving Miss Daisy at the age of 80 gives her the current title.

So this Sunday, sit back, relax and see if history is made.

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