Today we talk about our next Favorite Movie Actor nominee. And this guy, if you ask me, is almost not human. Because he’s a massive star in several disciplines and he never seems to slow down …if anything, he attracts more and more fans as he goes along, wins over doubters, and gets a little more skilled in everything at which he tries his hand – year after year. Most startlingly cool to me? He has hosted awards shows and actually won awards for hosting them. That’s 360 degrees of talent, in my opinion.
I am of course speaking of Hugh Jackman.
Actor/singer/dancer/host/father/husband/major philanthropist. When did you first notice Hugh? I have to say that I was never an X-Men fan, so that when the first X Men came out in 2000 it flew right over my head. I didn’t know from Hugh Jackman until Kate & Leopold, the romantic comedy in which he starred alongside Meg Ryan. Which of course is right in my movie preference wheelhouse. However, the guy’s star in the US rose sooo fast that Kate & Leopold, Swordfish, and X Men could each be first HJ sightings for lots of people – but few could tell you which came first.
He was born in Australia in 1968 to English parents and by all reports was well-liked and rugged and active and popular and essentially just what you think a boy who’d grow up to be Hugh Jackman would be like. I’m a big fan of the movies Scoop, The Prestige and Australia: the suspenseful, romantic, funny (and occasionally all three) ones. In fact, Australia didn’t even get good reviews; I felt it one of those huge sprawling epics that should be graded only on the scenery and the number of times Hugh saves a person or an animal by zinging by on a horse at ninety miles an hour. Thus, it was quite satisfying.
But what makes this guy so unusual is that he can transition very easily from actor to host – as in, an awards show host, and as we’ve seen in several not-so-great attempts by other actors over the years, hosting is a special skill and it takes a pretty unique personality. In fact, few can do it as well as Hugh, because one needs the right amount of confidence (and sometimes bravado) coupled with a sense of fun – but they’ve also got to be able to laugh at themselves, which this guy can certainly do. The dancing and singing part – which is cake for him – helps. He won a Tony Award for The Man From Oz on Broadway, based on the life story of Aussie singer-dancer-showman Peter Allen. But perhaps his neatest trick is the fact that he actually won an Emmy for his hosting of the Tonys (which he did several times) and then of course went on to host the Oscars; there are still plenty of people who feel he was the best one ever. Not surprisingly, he’s also won a People’s Choice Award and been nominated four times.
Right now Jackman’s got a ton of movies lined up, notably the lead in Les Miserables (for a show I never cared about on Broadway, they’re certainly loading up the movie with a great cast so I’ll have to see it). He’s also slated to play circus ringleader P.T. Barnum, which probably won’t be too much of a stretch. And of course, there’s the one-man show on Broadway, which is going on as I write this. Pretty much the toughest ticket to get, too…and it’s in no way surprising. So the guy’s a master showman and a pretty magnetic force in entertainment. Is Hugh Jackman your favorite movie actor? Let us know your thoughts and tell us which of his movies you love most.
1) X-Men Origins: Wolverine
2) The Prestige
3) Real Steel