Hugh Jackman already stars in one of the best movies of the year, the X-Men spin-off Logan, and he gives a fine performance there. But the Oscars don’t tend to recognize superhero movies. The Academy does have a history of loving big musicals, however. Therefore, The Greatest Showman might be Jackman’s better chance of earning his latest nomination.
He stars as circus pioneer P.T. Barmum in the song-and-dance-filled biopic, opposite Michelle Williams as first wife Charity and Zac Efron as a fictional collaborator. Not only is the genre a positive for the Academy’s notice, but the original songs are by the Oscar-winning La La Land duo Justin Paul and Benj Pasek.
Watch the second trailer to see Jackman and hear the music:
Jackman is best known for two things. He broke out as Wolverine in the X-Men movies and does his best work in the role in this year’s surprisingly dramatic, Western-tinged Logan. Outside of the superhero franchise, he’s passionate about musicals, on stage and on screen. He earned his first and so far only Oscar nomination for his lead part in 2012’s Les Miserables.
Of course, The Greatest Showman doesn’t have the clout that his previous honored musical had. It’s not an adaptation of a Broadway production with built-in fans and acclaim. The script is by Jenny Bicks, best known for her Emmy-winning work on Sex and the City, and Bill Condon, who earned an Oscar nod for writing Best Picture winner Chicago. They both also worked with Jackman when he hosted the Academy Awards in 2009. As for the director, though, this is former visual effects artist Michael Gracey’s debut at the helm of a major motion picture.
It’s hard to tell if the movie is an Oscar contender, but there’s a very good chance The Greatest Showman will find success with the Golden Globes, at least. There aren’t really any other musicals we’d see making their way into the Best Picture – Comedy/Musical category, and Jackman could very easily earn a nod for Best Actor – Comedy/Musical. If either wins, the Academy might take notice.
The Greatest Showman opens on December 20, which is nine days after the Golden Globe nominations are announced and about a month before the Oscar nominations are unveiled.