Air Date: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC
[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]


Special Anchored by Robin Roberts and Josh Elliott Airs Thursday, February 27, 8 pm ET on ABC

"Countdown to the Oscars(R)" offers viewers a backstage pass to the Academy Awards, featuring interviews with this year's nominees, rarely seen footage of the nominated stars before they were famous, and a special celebration of the 20th anniversary of "Forrest Gump." Robin Roberts and Josh Elliott anchor the special hour, with reporting from Lara Spencer and Chris Connelly. "COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS(R)" airs on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27 (8:00 - 9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Highlights from the star studded hour include:

· Jonah Hill: He has emerged as Hollywood's it-sidekick and star, proving he can hold the screen with acting heavyweights like Pitt and DiCaprio. The once unlikely celebrity turned two-time Oscar nominee sits with Chris Connelly and talks about his creative ambition, his comedic roles with director Judd Apatow, and his aspiration of wanting to be like his personal hero, Martin Scorsese. He also shares stories of Scorsese's "organized chaos" on the set of "The Wolf of Wall Street," shooting its debaucherous scenes, and playing tricks on his new friend, Leo DiCaprio.

· Lupita Nyong'o: She's Hollywood's break out star and the fashion world's new "it" girl -- Lupita Nyong'o's searing performance in "12 Years a Slave" made Hollywood sit up and take notice. She is the awards season front runner, garnering numerous accolades including a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Not bad when you consider this was her first acting job right out of the Yale School of Drama. Robin Roberts catches up with Lupita just days before the Oscars(R) to discuss new found fame, fabulous fashion and what it feels like to be at the center of a real life Hollywood Cinderella story.

· Before they were Famous - The Male Nominees: The long lost commercials. The embarrassing early TV roles. Meet Hollywood's hottest men long before they were up for acting's top prize. Go globetrotting with Bradley Cooper, the travel show host. Cheer on the "Wolf of Wall Street" as he fends off vicious attacks from man-eating aliens. Stroll through the halls of "My So-Called Life's" Liberty High with TV's original teen bad boy, Jared Leto. Plus, why is a young Leonardo DiCaprio speaking Russian in a cave? Chris Connelly reports.

Before they were Famous - The Female Nominees: From their first jobs scooping ice cream and waiting tables at Hooters to the commercials and haircuts they hoped you would forget. See Jennifer Lawrence when she was a Kentucky model and go inside the audition room for one of her first jobs. Get to know Julia Roberts, when she was just Julie, the aspiring veterinarian and Meryl when she was Mary Louise, the homecoming queen. Plus, find out why Oscar(R) winner Sandra Bullock was not earning much praise for her acting in high school. It's the little-known stories of Hollywood's leading ladies told by their old co-stars, childhood friends, and teachers.

· Forrest Gump and Real Life Military Heroes: From animated heroes, to superheroes, to action heroes... all will be celebrated at this year's 86th annual Academy Awards. But a few days before the Oscars(R), veteran actor and Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, best known for his portrayal of double amputee Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump," honored our nation's real-life heroes. Fifty injured servicemen and women arriving from Walter Reed Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir and Naval Medical Center San Diego were the honored guests for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Disneyland and Paramount Pictures with surprises along the way, including an unexpected visit from "Forrest Gump" himself, Tom Hanks. In an occasion to mark the 20th anniversary of the Oscar(R) winning film that made his character an icon to wounded warriors everywhere, Sinise gave ABC's Josh Elliott exclusive access to the multi-day event which took place in the entertainment capital of the world. It is a poignant tribute to the real life heroes Hollywood portrays.

John Green is the executive producer of "Countdown to the Oscars."

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