March 18, 2003 03:52 PM

The Academy Awards will go on Sunday night, but with a war looming in Iraq, Oscar producers have decided to make some drastic changes to the day’s festivities.

The most notable cut: celebrities’ red carpet arrivals.

While the carpet itself will remain, the throng of fans and media greeting the stars as they arrive will be gone. Many celebrities, the Associated Press reports, had requested a back entrance to the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, away from the glare of lights and fans’ attention.

Some stars and those involved with the production of the 75th annual show felt that an ostentatious display would not be appropriate given the country’s somber mood.

“I think you’d all agree it would be very inappropriate to have 500 fans yelling and screaming,” Oscarcast producer Gil Cates told reporters in a press conference Tuesday.

At least two leading nominees have said they would have felt uncomfortable trying to appear upbeat and fashionable if the nation is at war. Nicole Kidman, up for Best Actress for her role in “The Hours,” and Daniel Day-Lewis, a contender for the Best Actor award for his part in “Gangs of New York,” have indicated they wanted a lower profile, AP reports.

The result is certain to be a subdued ceremony, as the academy has even gone so far as to change some of host Steve Martin’s monologue. Producers also have added film montages and celebrity presentations to better reflect the country’s mood.

“To do something that will be self-serving or frivolous on a night when our troops are in bloody combat would be absolutely inappropriate,” Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, told reporters.

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