People magazine recently named Jackman the Sexiest Man Alive, while more recent Oscar hosts have boasted more schtick than sex appeal. Hosts of late have included the wise-cracking Jon Stewart year, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres and David Letterman. Some comics proved to be deft hosts and were invited back for return engagements (Crystal), while others simply bombed as the evening's MC (Letterman).
Jackman has performed in some lighthearted fare--he had a starring role in the musical "Oklahoma" in London--but he's probably best known for his role as Wolverine in the "X-Men" movies, in which he is a growling, snarling alpha male who is physically indestructible.
The Australian will also be the first foreign host of the Oscars since his fellow countryman Paul Hogan shared the stage with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn in 1987. It could be seen as a sign of the increasing internationalization of the Academy Awards. Many of the top honors at the 80th Annual Academy Awards went to foreign-born actors, including Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem, and Tilda Swinton. Even the Oscar for best song went to the Irish-Czech duo of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
While many find Jon Stewart's brand of intellectually informed wit to be sexy, the Oscars are definitely moving in a more conventionally manly direction in 2009 with Jackman's broad-shouldered appeal.