Happy 51st birthday on October 12, 2019, to Hugh Jackman, one of those rare performers with different faces.
For the populist filmgoers, their image of Jackman is likely as the mighty Wolverine from nine of the 10 “X-Men” films. With the ability to slice and dice bad guys with a mere swing of his razor-fingered hand, Jackman is still brought a moodiness and, at times, sadness to the character that has only endeared him more to audiences.
Jackman has also been smart enough (or lucky enough) to work with several great directors early in their careers — Darren Aronofsky (“The Fountain”), Christopher Nolan (“The Prestige”) and Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners”), creating in each film some of the most startling work of his career.
Jackman’s most honored film performance to date has been his dark Jean Valjean in Tom Hooper‘s “Les Miserables,” for which he won his first Golden Globe Award and received his first Oscar and SAG Awards nominations. It’s ironic that these honors came to Jackman for his only film musical, because there are legions of Broadway fans who only know Jackman as a song-and-dance man.
In fact, Jackman first came to worldwide public notice on the stage in a highly-acclaimed, widely-seen performance as Curly in a 1998 London production of “Oklahoma!” After spending a few years establishing his film credentials, Jackman came to Broadway in a big way with his flamboyant portrayal of Peter Allen in the musical comedy “The Boy From Oz,” winning a 2004 Tony Award for his efforts. He even returned to New York in 2011 for a successful song-and-dance one-man show, “Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway.”
So it was probably inevitable that the two worlds of Jackman would finally meet on film, with the all-singing, all-dancing original 2017 musical “The Greatest Showman,” in which Jackman played legendary creative showman P.T. Barnum. It received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Comedy/Musical Picture, and Jackman took his third Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.
Let’s take a look back and rank the 12 best and worst screen performances so far of Jackman. Click through our photo gallery above.
Original text by Tom O’Brien.
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