20th Century Fox has announced that Hugh Jackman, the Australian triple threat performer, will be honored with the hand and foot print ceremony in front of the Grauman ‘s Chinese Theater on April 21st at 11 am. Unlike the stars on the Walk of Fame, the hand and footprint nod is reserved for legends. It seems to have created a bit of a stir among movie lovers as they debate whether or not Mr. Jackman has demonstrated enough talent to deserve the place in history. Many seem to think it’s a studio backed stunt timed for the release of the upcoming Wolverine movie. I’m a little less cynical. But then, I tend to know that actors don’t come out of nowhere to become blockbuster superstars.
Hugh Jackman had already proven his worth as a world class talent well before he became Wolverine. He was an old Hollywood type performance artist who could do it all. While most of his accomplishments began in musical theater, he was also seen on television. His first blip on the international stage came when he sang, danced and acted his way to an award nomination in the Royal National Theater’s production of Oklahoma! in 1998 performed in London’s West End. A year later, an Australian film called Paperback Hero put him on the map with a breakthrough performance that many consider to be the role that ultimately lead to Wolverine.
While Hugh Jackman has yet to receive any awards beyond an Emmy for his incredible ability to host the Academy Awards, he was nominated for a Golden Globe. Most people recognize him for his blockbuster roles but he has turned out performances in films that were brilliant such as his role in the often over looked The Fountain. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being a commercial success or being part of a comic book franchise. For me, the ultimate movie of recent memory was The Dark Knight. Hollywood may have snubbed it for being unsubstantial in comparison to the usual intense dramas that dominate awards ceremonies but the film speaks for itself and the talent therein is undeniable. While the X-Men movies don’t hold a candle to either of the recent Batman movies or Ironman, they are still a fun ride. There is always the potential for them to step up to the level of the heavier hitters in the genre.
With all that in mind, I don’t care if the studio did buy Hugh Jackman’s upcoming ceremony. There is nothing fraudulent or manufactured about his abilities. He’s the kind of performer I used to dream of working with back when I was a little girl – the song and dance men who could knock a scene out of the park like it was nothing. They just don’t make them like that any more.