Hugh Jackman

INCO/FAME Pictures

With presenters such as Zac Efron and Robert Pattinson leaked, this year's Oscars are obviously about getting a younger, sexier audience—wonder how far Academy producers will go?

To find out, I got on the horn with Larry Mark, the venerable producer of such hits as Jerry Maguire and Dreamgirls, who, along with Bill Condon, is responsible for the Oscars this year. I love Larry, he's a crafty cat who knows his way around stars who have what it takes to megaseduce.

So…if the theme's all about sexing up the Oscars, what about letting his host, Hugh Jackman, who also just happens to be People's Sexiest Man Alive (and whose naked, chiseled chest was the only reason to see that dog Australia) help out with that little chore?

Your campaign says that Oscar's the man everybody's looking for, but isn't that actually Hugh Jackman naked?
Feel free to assume that.

Oh, come on, can't you at least get Hugh out there shirtless?
I doubt it. But that's up to Hugh.

What directives have you given him?
To feel comfortable and spontaneous—the show's all about spontaneity.

What place do politics play in spontaneity?
There are many who say politics don't belong [at the Oscars], and I don't believe in taking sides.

Ah, but as Larry agreed, it's a heavy political year, what with Prop 8 still popping all over the place and Barack Obama being our first African-American president, not to mention the economy falling out from under everybody's ass.

Sure politics have no place at all, Mr. Mark?
I agree with what the viewers want.

Message received. Expect a bit o' political play, everybody. Though it may be a bit on the veiled side—at least for my tastes.

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