Hugh, Hugh… Huge Anticipation

That bitter taste left in my mouth following last year’s dreadful Oscar telecast, thanks in part to Jon Stewart‘s awkward presence in Hollywood, is dying for something sweet. Last year’s show was the lowest-rated in the Academy’s 55-year history of airing the fest. Hugh Jackman has a lot of hype to live up to as the master of ceremonies at the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

All hopes are resting on the high-profile opening number. Billy Crystal was the last host to put a distinct signature on the broadcast. His musical openers were above and beyond and entertained eight times total.

Billy failed to top Bob Hope‘s record of 19 times hosting the Academy Awards, but when Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres started to take over, I began wishing for his triumphant return. Now comes Hugh Jackman. The man with the fabulous high kick and uncanny ability to channel singer/songwrier Peter Allen. Or, for those ignorant of Broadway, the man with the Wolverine claws. Whatever floats your boat.

Hugh set the bar high for the Tony Awards. He hosted three consecutive years and nabbed an Emmy Award in 2005. New York’s Radio City Music Hall was roaring with applause in 2004 as Hugh opened the night with a specially re-written number from “Dreamgirls“. Who knew he could hold his own with the Rockettes in a kick line?


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