The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, those responsible for the nominating and bestowing of Oscars, have decided to move away this year from the usual comedic talent that ordinarily hosts the annual Academy Awards ceremony. For the 81st Annual Academy Awards being held in February, the producers of the Academy Awards, Larry Mark and Bill Condon, have chosen the Sexiest Man Alive, Hugh Jackman.
Why would they choose Jackman? Was there some kind of deal with the promoters and advertisers of “Wolverine”? Did they feel as if they had slighted Hugh Jackman for neglecting to nominate “Australia,” his latest endeavor, for even a single Academy Award? Did they choose him because he is the “Sexiest Man Alive”?
It was nothing of the kind. Hugh Jackman was chosen for his tested ability at being a master of ceremonies. Not only is Jackman a veteran host of awards shows, Hugh Jackman has won an award for hosting an award show.
An Emmy, no less.
Hugh Jackman hosted the Tony Awards, the annual awards ceremony honoring the best in Broadway and stage, three times, from 2003-2005. For his performance in 2004, he received a nomination for and won the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for the “58th Annual Tony Awards Ceremonies.” He was nominated the following year as well, but did not win.
Mentioning the Emmy win, Larry Mark told Patrick Goldstein at the Los Angeles Times, “That’s not to suggest that the Tonys were an audition, but in a way they were. The fact that he was brilliant doing the Tonys certainly spoke well for his abilities.”
Jackman is the consummate thespian. He won a Tony Award in 2004 for his performance in “The Boy From Oz.” He was nominated for a 2002 Golden Globe for his performance in “Kate and Leopold.” And no one can doubt his popular appeal as the character Wolverine in the “X-Men” series.
But could there be something to the sexiest man angle? Mark said, “Not just that Hugh would look good in a tux, but that he looks comfortable in a tux.”
There is little doubt that Hugh Jackman would look good in a tux. He is People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”
But Mark also said that it was Jackman’s enthusiasm when he was asked that convinced him it was the right move.
Jon Stewart hosted the 80th Academy Awards, which has the dubious distinction of having the lowest ratings and was the least watched of any of the ceremonies in the history of the telecast.
Ellen Degeneres hosted in 2007.