Entertainment behind the scenes
It’s a tough job hosting the Academy Awards. It’s supposed to be entertaining, but it’s also a night for the stars to revel in the glory of an Oscar win. And the host has to be edgy and funny, without going over the line and insulting the honorees.
But when it works, as it did in 1992 when tough-guy actor Jack Palance did push-ups in front of comedian and host Billy Crystal, only to become the butt of Crystal’s jokes for the rest of the night, it makes for memorable moments.
On Friday, the organization behind the Academy Awards named Australian actor Hugh Jackman as the host of February’s annual show. Jackman is the first non-comedian to single-handedly host the show in recent years. The last time an Australian hosted the show was in 1987, when to “Crocodile Dundee” star Paul Hogan shared the stage with actress Goldie Hawn and comedian Chevy Chase.
Coming off starring in “Australia,” which has had only limited box office success since its Nov. 26 opening with a total box office take of $43 million, Jackman will rely on song and dance instead of just jokes to entertain a worldwide audience on Oscar night.
He has done well hosting the Tony Awards, the Broadway version of the Oscars, but the Oscars’ audience is used to comedians on the show. On a night where hype and pomp rule, the comedian’s role is often to keep the show grounded by injecting a jester’s dose of realism.
Jackman’s naming as host prompted a “love it or hate it” reaction here on our news floor in Los Angeles. There didn’t seem to be much in between, so we thought we’d leave it to readers to weigh in with their own thoughts. Hugh Jackman: an Oscar hit or miss?