Hugh Jackman will host the 81st annual Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed today.
(So, no Ricky Gervais!)
Jackman, a triple-threat actor, singer and dancer who was recently named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive," has awards-show host experience, and to good effect: He won an Emmy in 2005 for hosting the 58th annual Tony Awards in 2004, when he also took a best-actor Tony for his performance in the musical "The Boy From Oz."
Telecast producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon called the Australian actor "a consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star."
"He also has style, elegance and a sense of occasion," Mark and Condon said in a joint statement. "Hugh is the ideal choice to host a celebration of the year's movies -- and to have fun doing it."
Jackman was abroad Friday promoting the Baz Luhrmann romantic adventure film "Australia," in which he stars with Nicole Kidman.
"Thirty years ago when I was in Sydney watching Johnny Carson host the Oscars with my family, I never imagined that I'd one day have the chance to be up on that stage myself," Jackman said in a statement. "I am very grateful to the Academy for giving me this opportunity. And, excited to be working with Larry and Bill on what I know will be a fun and memorable celebration."
Perhaps best known as Wolverine in the "X-Men" movie franchise, Jackman has never been an Oscar nominee, but was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in 2001's romantic film "Kate & Leopold." His other movie credits include 2006's "The Prestige" and 2004's "Van Helsing." Jackman also served as a past presenter on the Oscar show.
The 40-year-old actor and his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, have their own Oscar -- their 8-year-old son Oscar Maximillian. The couple also have a 3-year-old daughter Ava.
With new producers, a new director, set designer and even a new music director, the Academy has been hinting at an all-new look and feel for this year's Oscars telecast on Feb. 22.
Jackman's selection is a departure from the Academy's standard of big-name comedians. Jon Stewart hosted the ceremony in 2008 and 2006; Ellen DeGeneres was the 2007 host. Chris Rock, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg have also hosted the show in recent years.