Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Actor Hugh Jackman to host Oscars

Hugh Jackman
Jackman will be seen as Wolverine in a fourth X-Men film next year

Australian actor Hugh Jackman will be the host of the 2009 Academy Awards, organisers have announced.

The 40-year-old star has not hosted the event before, although he presented the award for best original score in 2007.

Best known for playing Wolverine in the X-Men films, the actor can currently be seen in Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia.

His involvement marks a change of pace for the ceremony, which in recent years has employed a comedian or comic actor as master of ceremonies.

Last year's event was hosted by Jon Stewart, presenter of satirical US programme The Daily Show.

Musical appearances

Jackman, whose other film credits include Van Helsing and The Prestige, was recently named People magazine's "sexiest man alive".

His presenter experience includes three years as host of the Tony Awards between 2003 and 2005.

He also took home an award in 2004 for his role in Broadway musical The Boy from Oz.

He has also trod the boards in London, playing the lead role in a National Theatre revival of Oklahoma! in the late 1990s.

Early reports had linked British comedian Ricky Gervais to the post, filled in previous years by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and the late Bob Hope.

Gervais, though, subsequently distanced himself from the role, saying he feared he might not get the "freedom" he would need.

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