The takeaway from the Museum of the Moving Image's star-studded salute to Hugh Jackman: the Les Miserables actor, newly nominated for a SAG Award as hero Jean Valjean, is undeniably talented. A triple threat. A miracle of a man from Down Under whose very existence makes other actors -- no, everyone -- feel less worthy.
"He's also so nice -- it's, like, unbelievable," Les Mis director Tom Hooper told THR before Tuesday's event, held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
"However long hours he works, however much he has to sing, he's always gracious with the crew. He's always a wonderful leader. He's kind of inspiring. And I don't want to go too far with this, I'll sound like I'm gushing -- but he really is kind of a rather amazing person."
The accolades continued for the 44-year-old star, the Museum's 27th salutee, as a Who's Who of speakers including former co-stars, directors and wife Deborra-Lee Furness took turns at the podium to praise Jackman and present clips of his past work in film, theater and as host of Saturday Night Live. Other boldfaced names paying tribute: Mike Nichols; Anne Hathaway, who's Fantine to Jackman's Valjean; Eddie Redmayne, who plays Marius in Les Mis; Rachel Weisz, who starred opposite him in The Fountain (2006); Christopher Nolan, his director for The Prestige (also in '06); Liev Schreiber, his co-star in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009); and ex-SNL comic Rachel Dratch.
Dratch leads a roundup of the night's most amusing quotes:
1: "Hugh Jackman does it all: acting, singing, dancing, he's a triple threat," she said in a thick Australian accent, drawing big laughs from the audience. "He's also here tonight because he's Australian, and that Australian accent isn't easy to do. Just listen to me, it's hard. Yet Hugh Jackman does that accent every day of his life."
2. "The thing about Jackman is it's hard not to get depressed thinking about all that he is and can do. And then going home and .... being, well, you." - Nichols.
3. "Not to sound ungenerous, but it's been my experience that when someone is as charming and likable as Hugh, it's usually because they are overcompensating for a lack of talent. Or a psychopath. But I have worked with Hugh a few times now so I know this is not the case here. He is crazy-wonderful." -- Hathaway.
4. "After a brief sampling of the training regimen required to sustain a career like Hugh's, I began to wonder how wise it was for an actor of my age and stature to go galloping through his golden years as a giant mutant ... cat. That, and the fact that no one bothered to write me into the [Wolverine] sequel probably accounted for the somewhat precipitous fall my career has endured for the past three years." -- Schreiber.
And last, but not least, Jackman himself:
5. "Amazingly, six months ago Nate Silver did predict I was gonna get this. .... But it is an honor to the be the 27th, and, if the Mayan calendar right, last recipient of this award."