Monday, March 12, 2012

It's either Hugh Jackman or me

After I complained about Billy Crystal's performance as the Oscar host, a reader e-mailed me to ask whom I'd rather see introducing the Academy Awards. The honest answer is, "Me." I can sing. I own a tux. I'm not afraid of crowds. I've been on television and know how to use cue cards. I watch a lot of movies (more than Billy Crystal, I'm sure). And millions of people would tune in out of sheer curiosity. (OK, they'd tune back out immediately. So measure the ratings for the first three minutes!)

Realistically, though, I'd say Hugh Jackman, who actually did host three years ago. He's urbane, funny, he can also sing, and he's such a good host that he once won an Emmy Award for hosting the Tony show. He wouldn't kiss up to celebrities, he wouldn't drag out routines, and he has a sense of humor about himself. He also -- and I say this reluctantly -- has a shade more charm than I do.

And unlike Crystal (or me), he'd appeal to somebody under 40. The problem with hiring Anne Hathaway and James Franco was they were too young to know how to run a show smoothly. Crystal, meanwhile, is now about as fresh and flexible as a year-old English muffin. Jackman falls right into the sweet spot between them, age- and experience-wise.

A story about him: Charlotte native Merwin Foard, whom we profiled in today's Observer (, has understudied or stood in for some of the biggest names on Broadway: Nathan Lane, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Michael Cerveris and others. But when offered a job as Hugh Jackman's stand-in for "The Boy From Oz," the 2003 show that won Jackman a Tony as best actor, he turned it down.

He realized that every person in the theater would be there only to see HJ. If a disembodied voice announced that Jackman was indisposed, and "Today the role will be played by Merwin Foard," he'd be likely to see a sea of backs moving toward the box office for refunds. Jackman is unique, and he ought to be hosting the 2013 Academy Awards.


WE said...

Who doesn't love HJ? You can see him as an action hero or romantic lead.

I also think the sentence, "...he once won an Emmy Award for hosting the Tony show," is funny. An award for hosting an award show? Nice. I believe he also has a Tony, so he's halfway to his EGOT. Phillip Michael Thomas better watch out!

Nice column.

KB said...

After all these years (!) - L. Toppman still there in the saddle!! once lived in 'terror' of your reviews when you were prowling thru the local theatre presentions during the 80's for a weekly entertainment guide whose name escapes me now.
You're certainly spot on with the differences (Crystal/Jackman). So far HJ doesn't seem to be able to do anything wrong.
KB now in central Florida

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! Women love HJ and men like him, too. He's glamorous and down-to-earth at the same time.

Anonymous said...

HJ can hit my sweet spot any time... oh, did I write that out loud??

Joanne said...

I totally agree, Larry! Hugh Jackman can sing, dance, and act. His song medley at the Oscars a couple years back was priceless.


Jamie said...

And just to top it off, his fan base doesn't just love him, they actually love theater and motion pictures enough to discuss which roles would be the best to exhibit his almost scary level of talent. Once you get past the ones who spell hot "HAWT", you have folks chatting about the nuances of film, technical issues, script, and marketing. The Academy couldn't create a better host unless they take up cloning.