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Hugh Jackman is Oscar Host

Hugh Jackman will host the 81st Academy Awards telecast. This will be Jackman's first time center stage at the Oscar show, although he has previously been a presenter.

"Hugh Jackman is a consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star," said producer Laurence Mark and executive producer Bill Condon in a joint statement. "He also has style, elegance and a sense of occasion. Hugh is the ideal choice to host a celebration of the year's movies -- and to have fun doing it."

Jackman stars in the current release AUSTRALIA, directed by Baz Luhrmann. He will next be seen in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, having portrayed the title character in the previous three smash-hit X-MEN movies. His other film credits include THE PRESTIGE, FLUSHED AWAY, THE FOUNTAIN, HAPPY FEET, VAN HELSING, KATE & LEOPOLD and SWORDFISH.

A native of Australia, Jackman won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in THE BOY FROM OZ. He has served as host of the Tony Awards ceremony and won a 2005 Emmy for that assignment.

Jackman's other stage credits include CAROUSEL, OKLAHOMA!, SUNSET BOULEVARD and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

The Oscars has in for many years gone with big-name comedians. This year's WGA strike-impaired ceremony was hosted at the last minute by THE DAILY SHOW host Jon Stewart, who also hosted in 2006. Ellen DeGeneres hosted in 2007. Other recent hosts have included Chris Rock, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.