It's not the same old song 'n' dance


Coming off a record-low ratings year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is turning to an unconventional choice to host the Oscars, tapping Hugh Jackman to preside over the show.

It will be the Australian actor's first time as host of the Oscars, though he demonstrated his hosting skills — as well as his singing and dancing chops — when he emceed the Tony Awards in 2004, earning an Emmy for his efforts.

Laurence Mark and Bill Condon are producing the ABC telecast, set for Feb. 22 from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

The pair have said they hope to boost viewership for the 81st Annual Academy Awards by finding ways to feature movies from the previous year, including blockbusters, that do not figure prominently in awards categories. The selection of a movie star like Jackman could be one step in that direction.

"In the old days, we would have turned to a Clark Gable or Cary Grant," Mark said of Jackman's marquee appeal. As for the possibility that Jackman will participate in a song-and-dance number, Mark said, "I think it's a good bet if it's something that grows organically out of the show."

Gregg Kilday contributed to this report.