In a crazy about turn on tradition, actor and all round nice guy Hugh Jackman will host the 81st Academy Awards. In geek-speak this is translated into "Wolverine is hosting the freakin' Oscars!"
In an email to Nikki Finke Jackman said:
"Thirty years ago when I was in Sydney watching Johnny Carson host the Oscars with my family, I never imagined that I'd one day have the chance to be up on that stage myself! I am very grateful to the Academy for giving me this opportunity. And, excited to be working with (Producers) Larry (Mark) and Bill (Condon) on what I know will be a fun and memorable celebration."
Usually the awards show is hosted by a comedian - in recent years we've had Jon Stewart, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock and Ellen DeGeneres and of course Billy Crystal. However, the all important television ratings have been dropping: In 1998 a huge 55 million people tuned into watch the show, however last year's show was watched by only 32 million Americans. That's a pretty hefty decline, so Jackman will have his work cut out. Don't worry though, it's not his first time hosting an awards ceremony... Jackman has hosted the Tony Awards - the theater equivalent of the Oscars, from 2003-2005.
Producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon had this to say about Jackman's choice:
"We kept saying how we were looking for Cary Grant or Clark Gable. And then we realized that Hugh Jackman had hosted the Tonys so successfully. Hugh Jackman is a consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star. He also has style, elegance and a sense of occasion. Hugh is the ideal choice to host a celebration of the year's movies - and to have fun doing it."
It's pretty win-win for Jackman as the show is watched by hundreds of millions of people around the globe and his exposure will be phenomenal. The Australian star has the Baz Luhrmann directed Australia currently on release, and the film has had disappointing box office results. This announcement could inject some interest into the film and raise the grosses. Also, during the summer a little movie called X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens and Jackman really needs that film to make money. If it doesn't then his signature role and career are over - leaving Jackman an also ran by Hollywood standards.
It should be a pretty interesting show to watch - Jackman has a background in musical theater (that's not a euphemism for anything) so we may even get a song and dance out of him. However, do not expect too many jokes - the days of comedy seem to be over with the Academy and old Hugh doesn't seem interested in trying to get a chuckle or two - having said that I'm sure that it'll be far from boring.
On an interesting side note - Jackman's son is name Oscar. That has to be a good omen!
Source: Deadline Hollywood