He could start with a joke. Or he could come out in gold lamé pants, gyrating his hips while he sings a Broadway tune and pull an unsuspecting actress out of the crowd to bump and grind along with him.
Wait, he already did that the last time he hosted a major awards show.
It was part of his performance at the 2004 Tony Awards, where he reprised his role in “The Boy From Oz,” which earned him a trophy for Best Actor that same night. As well as impressing the crowd with his uninhibited hips, he did such a good job hosting that he received an Emmy Award the following year.
So he can sing, dance, act and host. But is he funny?
Some are calling Jackman an unusual choice to host the Oscars, considering the trend for many years has been to enlist people who have nothing to do with movies at all — stand up comics and TV hosts such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart.
Critics have already doubted the 40-year old actor’s abilities; with journalists from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times saying he had style and sex appeal but not enough substance.
But organizers say they want to shake things up this year and People Magazine’s newest “Sexiest Man Alive” may be the one to do it.
Canada AM movie critic Richard Crouse thinks they may be right.
“I think Hugh Jackman is an all-round entertainer, in sort of the truest sense of the word,” says Crouse. “It’s sort of an old-fashioned kind of saying but he can sing, he can dance … he’s also a movie star and I think that it’s kind of appropriate that you have an actual movie star hosting the Academy Awards.”
No one’s sure what Jackman’s going to do and it sounds like that’s the way the Academy wants it.
Crouse says the opening monologue will likely be eliminated, which will shorten the time of the epic-length program.
“I think it will be really straightforward. Hugh Jackman will come out looking terrific in a tuxedo, welcome everybody and say, ‘And now let’s get to the awards.’ I think it will be that simple and I think that’s what the Academy Awards needs, is to be streamlined a little bit like the Golden Globes.”
New Academy Award producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon have much faith in their host, calling Jackman a “consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star.”
“He also has style, elegance and a sense of occasion,” Mark and Condon said in a joint statement. “Hugh is the ideal choice to host a celebration of the year’s movies and to have fun doing it.”
Jackman has never won an Oscar himself, but was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2002 for the fantasy rom-com “Kate & Leopold.”
He’s done a mix of romantic comedies, dramas and action movies in his acting career, from “X-Men” and “Van Helsing” to “The Prestige.”
Although his most recent flick “Australia” with Nicole Kidman got lukewarm response, there’s already buzz about the upcoming “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
Successful Oscar hosts of the past have been able to find the right combination of wit, charm and self-deprecating humour. They also had to be careful not too poke too much fun at the stars or the Oscars themselves, as Hollywood takes themselves very seriously – a lesson Chris Rock learned the hard way.
So what does Jackman need to do to pull it off?
According to Crouse, he just has to keep it going.
“Keep the pace really fast,” he says. “Don’t try and do things you’re not really comfortable with. Don’t try and be funny. If you’re not good at telling scripted jokes then just don’t do it. Stick with a song and dance routine and let that be the end of it.”
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