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Hugh Jackman "Dumbstuck" Over Hosting Oscars

Feb. 21 2009, Published 6:16 a.m. ET

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(Photo: Splash News Online) Wolverine is over the moon.

Who can blame him? On Sunday, Hugh Jackman will host the 81st annual Academy Awards, an incredible honor for a kid who grew up watching the Oscars in his native Australia.

The 40-year-old actor, who just finished filming X-Men Origins: Wolverine, told People Magazine he felt "dumbstruck" when he got the Academy's call.

"I was in London at the Claridges Hotel and I woke up to a phone call around midnight. I was dead asleep and I thought it was my wake-up call... I was just dumbstruck. When it finally sunk in I was just quiet. Then Deb (wife Deborra-Lee Furness) actually was just coming to bed and I said, 'Oh baby, you're about to get in bed with the host of the 81st Academy Awards!' and she started jumping up and down on the bed! "

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Jackman, who's a Tony Award winning song-and-dance man, says we can expect a lot of musical numbers, plus he may even work his title as the Sexiest Man Alive into the show.

"Trust me, I'm trying! It's just too good to let go. Comedy writers love it. They think it's the best bit of fodder they could ever have. I think it's one of the first rules of being a host - you have to be self-deprecating and what better way to make fun of yourself than through that?"

On a serious note, Jackman talked with People about the late Heath Ledger, expected to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his twisted take on the joker in The Dark Knight.

"His death was a great loss in every way, not just as an Australian and as a friend of mine but for the acting community. If there's one thing the acting community does well it's appreciate its own and recognize them. It's very sad and tragic but it's also poignant that he's nominated and could well win. I would be surprised if he didn't - and deservedly so. I'm thrilled his family will there because I think it will be really important for them to see the effect he had on the community and the great respect there was for him."

Jackson also told People that his favorite hosts include Billy Crystal and Steve Martin and that he actually went back and watched all eight Oscar telecasts that Billy hosted.

The Oscars air Sunday night on ABC.

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