The signing of Hugh Jackman as host of the 81st Oscarcast is a signal that "we are trying to turn a corner and to give the evening more of a nightclub-party feel -- which it once had," said the show's producer Laurence Mark.
Mark told Daily Variety
that they wanted someone other than a standup performer. "Since it's a celebration of movies, we felt it was important to have someone who's a movie star." He added that since the show takes place in the Kodak and is watched by millions of TV viewers and film fans, "We were very lucky to get Hugh, who can hold a screen and
can hold a stage."
Oscarcast exec producer Bill Condon said Jackman will be in town next week to discuss ideas for the show. A standup monologue at the start of the show is unlikely, but "Hugh will entertain the audience throughout the show," Condon said. Jackman's goal, as theirs, is "to keep the show hot throughout, to make it communal and great fun."
When Condon and Mark were announced for their Oscar duties, some assumed the show would be more musical, since the two collaborated on the film "Dreamgirls." At the time, both said that's not necessarily true.
Aside from Jackman's dramatic roots -- he stars in "Australia" and will next be seen in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," having portrayed the title character in the three "X-Men" hits -- he has strong musical talents.
Jackman won a 2004 Tony for his performance in the tuner "The Boy From Oz" and won a 2005 Emmy for his duties as Tony host, in which he sang and danced.
But Condon reiterated, "I wouldn't assume the show will be more musical."