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Oct 12 2018

Hugh Jackman at 50

by Eric Blume

Hugh Jackman celebrating his 50th birthday.

Let's all take a moment to celebratethe half-century birthdayof one of our most versatile and underrated actors,Hugh Jackman.

Underrated,you question?Sure,Hugh has a Best Actor Tony forThe Boy from Oz,an Emmy Award for hosting the Academy Awards,and a Best Actor Oscar nomination forLes Miserables.But if you asked folks to list ten of the best working actors,would most people remember to put him on their list?

I'd argue no,and not because anyone holds him in anything but the highest regard,but rather that Hugh is so unflashy,and so dependably solid,that we take his skill for granted.

At Telluride with Jason Reitman to promote "The Front Runner"

Hugh Jackman is a natural-born movie star.He's got the basic rugged handsomeness that the camera loves,but his angles are a bit off,in a great way,so he's not generic in his beauty.He's got charisma for days,and a generosity for both fellow actors and the audience that's big and honest. He has legit training as a song-and-dance man,a quality particularly unique to male movie actors,and one that the industry has barely scratched the surface of.He'd been rumored to play Billy Bigelow in a movie musical remake ofCarousel,a role he was born to play,and a text for which he could bring out a contemporary sensibility that would help the piece further resonate today.

Hugh spent seventeen years in the X-Men universe playing Wolverine.When this man jacks up,his frame is the perfect physical embodiment of the character,and he's always deep into the role in the way all our best actors are,pretending what they think they're playing is as interesting as what they're actually playing.But he brought the character to full-circle power in last year'sLogan,which gave him an ability to turn the action movie genre into almost a chamber piece,with the emphasis on characterization and feeling.

Hugh Jackman is a great leading man,can more than hold his own as a singer and musician,nails comedy,flies high as a superhero,is hot AF,and by all accounts of everyone who has worked with him,also a warm,kind,charming human being.May we be so lucky to have the gift of him onscreen for decades to come.

What's your favorite Hugh?

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Reader Comments (18)

I thought he was great in "PRISONERS"(2013).In fact,the whole movie was underrated.
And considering he was nominated for Best Actor for LES MISERABLES the year before,I thought the AMPAS learned how to love Jackman,so I was really hoping for an Oscar nom for him for PRISONERS...Sadly it never happened!
It was a great acting showcase for Jackman,Gyllenhaal and Leo.Fantastic!

October 12,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Looking forward to his performance in The Front Runner.

As ruggedly handsome as he still is,he's visibly aged quite a bit in the last few years,likely a side effect of his battle with skin cancer.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered Commentertr

Agreed that he was amazing in Prisoners.

I'd like him to return to hosting a few shows,though,and give NPH a break.His play with the audience is fantastic,even if they're planted.I've rewatched the 2008 Oscar opener where he drags Anne Hathaway up to play Nixon,but the best is when he drags a terrified Sarah Jessica Parker up on stage at the Tonys to dance.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

I have a clear-cut favorite in The Prestige,but I'm hoping I'll have a new one once I see The Front Runner.The story has promise,and I think Hugh + Reitman should be a good combination.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

The.Fountain.Mesmerizing.Happy birthday Hugh.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Australia without a doubt;such an underrated and underappreciated film (and don't get me started on Nicole's superlative performance that is so unfairly maligned)

October 12,2018 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

His performance inLoganI think was seriously overlooked as it was the performance of his career.I also love what he did in the otherX-Menfilms (exceptX-Men Origins: Wolverinethanks in part to an awful script and bad direction),The Prestige,Eddie the Eagle,Les Miserables,andPrisoners.I saw some ofThe Greatest was terrible.The songs are crap,the presentation is shit,and it deviated too much from who P.T.Barnum really was.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Outside of X-Men (because that feels like its own thing),my favorite Hugh is The Fountain.He's heartbreaking in it and the movie itself deserves a bigger audience.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

@thevoid99 - Agree about LOGAN.Also,I can't help it,I loved The Greatest Showman despite its numerous flaws,and the songs ARE catchy.

I also have a soft spot for KATE AND LEOPOLD.It's a ridiculous film,but Hugh was adorable.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

He was in a tiny Australian film in the late 90 called ERSKINEVILLE KINGS,which is where I first sat up and took notice of his serious acting chops.(You can get it on iTunes and Google Play in Australia - don't know about international - but I'd highly recommend giving it a look.)

However,in terms of best of the best,I am Team LES MIS all the way.

October 12,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

He shld've been nom for Logan last yr.Period.

I luv him in The Prestige too!!Such an underrated gem!Todate,my fav Nolan.

Happy Sweet 50th!

October 12,2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

If he can choose wisely,then the Oscar is on the line.He's very liked and respected,but some of his choices...

BTW,what happened with Gemini and the Kidman obsession LOL

October 13,2018 | Unregistered Commenterleon

I admit I have great affection for a scene in "Someone Like You"with Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman.Ashley and Hugh are in the kitchen of their shared apartment,at midnight,eating Chinese food - - in their underwear.It's such an obvious set up,yet Hugh and Ashley make it completely sweet and charming.

October 13,2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Definitely THE PRESTIGE because he gets to show both the charm/showmanship we love and the darkness he's also able to tap into - I feel like most of his other roles are too concentrated on one extreme or the other.

October 13,2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

Adri - was literally just coming on here to post this.YES.

October 13,2018 | Unregistered Commenterteppo2

@James from Ames - With Andy Cohen seated next to SJP,no less.Jackman is a marvelous host,and the quintessential song-and-dance man.Why he doesn't show up in more musicals is a mystery,but the fact that he's had two blockbuster musicals in the past six years should give Hollywood permission to afford him carte blanche on a third.

Anyway,he's great in Australia,Kate & Leopold,Logan,The Prestige and Prisoners (despite one of the most absurd character names in film history).Happiest of to a dazzling star.

October 13,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

The best thing is that he legitimately seems like an awesome person in real life.Plus his wife was phenomenal in Shame,I'd want to marry her just for that.:P

October 13,2018 | Unregistered CommenterOlly

The Prestige followed by Australia then Logan.I saw him in his one man show Hugh Jackman: From Broadway to Oz at the Sydney Entertainment Center and he owns the stage with razzle dazzle,style and charisma that he generously shares with the audience.He's first and foremost a Song and Dance man.Bring on Carousel I say.

November 16,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

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