Hugh Jackman received the Hollywood Actor Award at the Hollywood Film Awards last night for his performance in Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner which doesn’t come out until November 21. Like I said, this is a bizarre event on the awards circuit but it’s meant to position Oscar campaigns and set up strategies. Right now, the presumed favourite in the Best Actor Oscar category is Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born. But, remember, if we’re playing the “Due Game”, and we play the “Due Game” every year at the Oscars, there’s a long list of contenders before we even get to BCoop, including Viggo Mortensen (who was also there last night) and Willem Dafoe and, yes, Hugh Jackman. 

Hugh’s award was presented by Anne Hathaway. They worked together in Les Miserables. And she shared a cute anecdote about what an asshole he was on set. Per USA Today:

"In case you haven’t noticed anarchy is the order of the day. So let’s flip the script," said Hathaway, 35. "I once saw Hugh Jackman, the nicest guy in Hollywood, lose his sh-t."

She told a story working on long "Les Miserables" rehearsals with director Tom Hooper. Jackman (Jean Valjean) and Hathaway (Fantine) sang every take live in the film, which would go on to win three Oscars (including best actress for Hathaway while Jackman was nominated for best actor).

"We had been at it for hours and were long past the point of exhaustion, in that particular place only Tom Hooper or childbirth can get you," said Hathaway, setting the scene.

During a set break, Hathaway noticed a change in the normally affable Jackman. He looked "stormy" and gave a "thousand-mile stare."

"I knew I had to say something so I said, 'Are you okay man?' " Hathaway recalled. "Hugh drew in a ragged, powerful breath, locked his gaze on mine and said through gritted teeth, 'Annie, it's a lot.' "

"That's it, that's the worst behavior I have seen from Hugh Jackman," said Hathaway, as the crowd roared in laughter.

Actually Hathaway thought of another Jackman scandal on the podium.

"He did have two cocktails in one night. I wasn’t there, but he told me he did," she said.

"I tell the story to make the point, as much as you would like to flip the script on Hugh Jackman, you can't," said Hathaway. "He has never, not once, used his artistry to get away with being a jerk."

She’s not lying. Hugh Jackman is not a dick. Never a dick. He’s so nice, he’s considerate, he is always professional, there is never any gossip about him treating people poorly, I have never heard a junket story about him being sh-tty in interviews, reluctant to participate. He doesn’t make it hard to do your job because he understands how to do his job. In some cases, his example makes others do their jobs better. 

Hugh Jackman, then, has his allies in the industry. He’s popular. He’d probably get Annie’s vote. And she’s been known to get out there to campaign for her friends, like Eddie Redmayne a few years ago (also part of the Les Miserables family). It’s just a matter of how much momentum the movie can actually carry. Because The Front Runner hasn’t been all that favourably reviewed. That said, I’m not sure the three remaining Best Actor nomination slots are all that secure. Bradley Cooper is a lock. Viggo will probably be a lock. I’m not convinced that Ryan Gosling has it since First Man’s box office wasn’t all that spectacular. Which leaves Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Rami Malek, Robert Redford, Christian Bale, Stephan James, and Hugh, all of them still in the conversation. And THAT is why they campaign. 

PS. I LOVE this white slouchy dress on Anne, totally my style profile.