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Finishing touches for the 84th Annual Academy Awards

Damian Dovarganes / AP

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local 33 Hollywood stage crewmen Shawn Schull, left, and John Shipton move an Oscar frame for the 84th Annual Academy Awards outside the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Lead scenic artist, Dena D'Angelo works on the finishing touches for the set of the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Thursday.

Chris Carlson / AP

Interior designer Waldo Fernandez poses for a picture in the greenroom for the 84th Annual Academy Awards.

AP reports: It's only the 84th year of the Academy Awards, yet the nostalgia factor feels as though Hollywood is celebrating a centennial of some sort. Film itself has been around for well over a century, and Sunday's Oscar nominees span every decade of the last hundred years, with an unusual emphasis on the history and artistry of cinema's earlier days.

Oscar show producer Brian Grazer says that the Hollywood & Highland Center, the hall formerly known as the Kodak where the ceremony takes place, will be redesigned to resemble a "timeless movie theater." It's a fitting transformation on a night whose key nominees are "Hugo" and "The Artist," two love songs to forebears of the flickering image.

Set amid the transition from silent cinema to talking pictures in the late 1920s, "The Artist" is the best-picture favorite and would become the only silent movie to win top honors since the first Oscar show 83 years ago.

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Scenic artist Sam Costa paints a sign in preparation for the 84th Academy Awards on Thursday.

Ever wonder who's casting ballots for Hollywood's most prestigious award? After eight months of research, the LA Times found the majority of the Academy's members are white, older males. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.

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