It’s the countdown to the 90th Academy Awards. Yes, it’s the season that many film lovers get excited for as it will be a night of film-making celebrations. Whilst you can certainly recognise that this year is filled with rightly placed controversy, a year where no people of colour were nominated in major categories or women in non-acting roles, there is no one taking away from the excitement of those with nods or the excitement surrounding the glitz and the glam of it all.
So, to kick off a week of anticipation, we have a series of articles for you that will look at the Academy Awards and let’s start by celebrating one of the best opening numbers of in the history of the ceremony…
In 2009, Australian actor Hugh Jackman took hosting duties for the Oscars which was produced by director Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, notably. The hefty weight of responsibility to bring entertainment, wit, and charm to the proceedings is a tentative task to take on. Some succeed whilst many fail (Anne Hathaway and James Franco are a prime example.) Yet Hugh Jackman had audiences in the palm of his adamantium laced hands. Firing off quick witted jokes about range and hosting the awards instead of being nominated, Jackman was already poised to be one of the funniest MCs of the Academy Awards. Then he launched into a musical number.
Writen by Community’s Dan Harmon and Parks and Recreation’s Ben Schwartz, the opening number is one of the best. It is no longer a secret that Jackman can belt out a tune or two (for anyone who followed his career post X-Men.) Before his live-singing, close up action in Les Miserables, Jackman was a Tony winner and musical hero and he brought his crooning skills to the stage of Kodak Theatre Hall in Los Angeles. Lamenting on the recession, Jackman uses cardboard sets to celebrate the movies nominated including Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Reader, The Wrestler, and even The Dark Knight. Coursing through this recyclable theatre, Jackman leaps through lyrics that reminisce on the film industry as well as those aforementioned films, leading to a musing on what Jackman needs to do to be nominated.
Certain highlights in the opening number include Anne Hathaway singing as Richard Nixon, the Craigslist Dancers, and, honestly, I’d happily re-watch the Benjamin Button on a Budget as Jackman sings about “pubic hair.” The best part is the honest break of composure as Hugh Jackman focuses on The Reader with a weirdly futuristic troupe accompanying him. The performer begins giggling when he laments that “he hasn’t seen The Reader” which makes the performance even better.
The final crescendo where Hugh Jackman exclaims “I am Wolverine” wraps up a raucous and entertaining number that saw the audience leap to their feet in celebration. Reminding us why Jackman is an honest to God, pure cinnamon bun in human form, Hugh Jackman blows every opening number in Academy Award ceremony history out of the water. Seriously, you’ll watch it repeatedly. Fantastically amusing, hilarious, and catchy number which asks “why don’t comic book movies ever get nominated?”
So please, from all of us, enjoy this incredible Oscar number.
The 91st Academy Awards screens on 24th February