Hugh Jackman: I Had the "Time of My Life" Hosting the Oscars

Entertainment Jan. 22, 2009 AT 4:25PM
Hugh Jackman Hugh Jackman performs at the 81st Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA on February 22, 2009. Credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Australian actor Hugh Jackman tells he had a ball hosting the Academy Awards for the first time on Sunday. "I had time of my life," he told Us after the show. But critics said even Jackman -- who opened the show with a musical tribute spoofing this year's best picture nominees -- couldn't save the dull, overformatted awards show. (A preliminary measurement of the nation's biggest markets shows ratings for this year's Academy Awards went up 6 percent over last year.)

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New York's Daily News praised his energy but added that making the three-hour ceremony seem lively "would have required powers beyond those of Wolverine." "Jackman did his best. His mission just wasn't accomplishable," said the critic, who also didn't care for Jackman's "human excrement" joke in his showcase opener.

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The New York Post's Linda Stasi said Jackman "performed like a cheesy cruise-ship entertainer to the endless hours of awards to dull men we've never heard of for categories we don't care about." Though Jackman was "charming," a Newsweek critic writes that "the material didn't live up to his talents as a host." The critic added that the "the big Beyonce number really did seem to be stolen from American Idol."

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The Los Angeles Times didn't care for Jackman's "chorus boy spaz-out" and noted that when he sat on nominee Frank Langella's lap, it was "weird."

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The Associated Press also said Jackman couldn't save the show: "He's only human. And he's only one man. "Along with Jackman presiding, this year's Oscarcast was supposed to feel stylistically new and invigorated. "In a year when Oscar winners seemed more predictable than usual, the night's suspense for many viewers had been diverted to wondering whether the broadcast itself would successfully deliver a few welcome surprises. "But what passed for surprises was an overformatted style that seemed to turn the night into a Learning Annex short course in how movies are made."

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