Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan offer a sneak peek at what to expect on March 2

By Anthony Breznican
Updated February 21, 2014 at 05:00 AM EST

The Oscar ceremony will flex its muscles this year, with producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan planning a tribute to movie heroes. The March 2 telecast on ABC will be the duo’s second time overseeing the Oscars after last year’s outing with Seth MacFarlane, and also Queen of Daytime Ellen DeGeneres’ second run as emcee.

“The whole heroes theme works beautifully with Ellen as host because what she does so well is compassionate comedy,” Zadan says. “She’s hilarious, but has a tremendous amount of humanity.” The show will include a 75th-anniversary celebration of Dorothy’s quest in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz and a segment on inspirational champions such as Norma Rae, To Kill a Mockingbird‘s Atticus Finch, and Captain Phillips. “Then we have the popular heroes: superheroes and characters like Harry Potter and Indiana Jones, or the Ghostbusters,” Meron says.

The broadcast will also spotlight filmmakers and actors who “take on difficult subject matter and conquer it,” Zadan says. “They don’t play it safe. So we’re celebrating not only who you see on the screen but the people who are behind the scenes.”