He sings, dances, acts on stage and screen, and he's the "Sexiest Man Alive." Hugh Jackman does everything but standup comedy and that's why the first time Oscars host fulfills the academy's promise to shake up the show in a way that's as tough to predict as the winners. Hugh was announced Friday as the host of the 81st Academy Awards, a marked departure from the academy's standard of big name comedians. Jon Stewart, who hosted in 2008 and 2006, and Ellen DeGeneres, the 2007 host, were the latest in a line of funny emcees since 1990. Billy Crystal did it eight times, Whoopi Goldberg took on four, Steve Martin did it twice and David Letterman and Chris Rock each had a shot. As the parade of A-list comedians continued, ratings were in steady decline. But with new producers, a new director, new set designer and even a new music director, the academy has been hinting for months at an all-new look and feel for this year's Oscars telecast on Feb. 22. Having Hugh Jackman host certainly fits with that theme. Producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon called the Australian actor "a consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star."
(AP Photo/Peter Kramer)