In his introduction to the Museum of the Moving Image’s Salute to Hugh Jackman, MOMI’s Chairman Herbert S. Schlosser called the Aussie actor one of the “most talented and well-liked stars today.” The honor, which has been awarded to both stars (Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks) and savants (Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg), was just a preambular feather in Jackman’s cap — he would go on to score SAG and Golden Globe nominations this week. Hugh Jackman, it turns out, is something we can all agree on: We like him, we really like him.
Of course, Jackman couldn’t resist poking a little fun at himself in his acceptance speech. He quipped that this holiday season brought “pretty much what I want every year — a movie, starring me, to open Christmas day and be promoted on massive billboards… maybe an award to top it off. I’m a simple, low-key kind of guy.” Jackman’s own speech came after toasts from several of his Hollywood colleagues, including Les Misérables co-stars Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, his director on The Prestige Christopher Nolan, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine co-star Liev Schreiber, among others. Below, the night’s top five soundbites…
5. “When they called and told me they were going to salute the greatest Australian actor of his generation, I thought, ‘Finally, someone’s giving Paul Hogan his due!'” —wife Deborra-Lee Furness
4. “There’s one question I’ve been asked repeatedly by the press [during this Les Mis press tour] — ‘What does it feel like to be carried in Hugh Jackman’s bicep?’ Even my girlfriend asked me that. Well… it feels pretty damn good.” —Redmayne
3. “It’s hard not to get depressed thinking about all [Hugh] can do and then come home to… well… you.” —former MOMI Salute honoree Mike Nichols
2. “After a brief sampling of the training regimen required to sustain a career like Hugh’s, I began to wonder if a man of my age and stature should spend his golden years galloping about as a game cat. [But Hugh is] the most talent, emotionally, physically, and spiritually gifted actor I will ever share a sauna with.” —Schreiber
1. “I just want to thank you as a woman. The first time we saw you as Wolverine in that three-sizes-too-small tank top, with your mountainous, quivering, gently manscaped pectorals, I’m certain you turned millions of girls into comic book fans overnight.” —Hathaway, after describing Jackman as “possessed by Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and the entire Rat Pack combined” and admitting she was shocked to be the first to mention his former Sexiest Man Alive status