Most popular headline so far about the announcement that Hugh Jackman will host the Oscars: “He better do it shirtless.”
Based on a very scientific poll of people who happened to be in the room at the time I heard about the announcement, there’s a lot of opposition to the idea of the Oscars being hosted by a man who a) Starred in the Christopher Nolan movie that nobody saw because it wasn’t Batman, and b) Only missed winning the Australian Box-Office Poison Award because Nicole Kidman exists. It was suggested that Tina Fey or Sarah Silverman would have been better, funnier choices.
But heretically, I think it’s a pretty good idea. Jackman has hosting experience, as you can see above (he hosted the Tonys three times). And it was about time that they tried having a host who isn’t a comedian, just for the sake of variety and also because there are hardly any comedians who have international recognition. (That was the problem with Jon Stewart last year: he was funny, but nobody outside North America knew who he was.) On the assumption that you need somebody who is reasonably well-known internationally, can host an awards show without embarrassing himself, and isn’t so famous that he’d be unavailable for a show like this, who’s a better choice?
Addendum: I realize that there may be controversy over the idea that Jackman didn’t embarrass himself in the above clip, but on awards shows, the definition of not embarrassing yourself is that you read your lines correctly and don’t drop any f-bombs.