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Hugh's phantom Oscar

Category: Phantom of the Opera News
Article Date: September 24, 2004 | Publication: Sydney Morning Herald | Author: AAP
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Hugh Jackman's decision to take The Boy From Oz to Broadway may have cost him his first Oscar nomination.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's film version of The Phantom of the Opera, to be released in Australian cinemas in early 2005, has emerged a frontrunner for February's Academy Awards.

Jackman was one of Webber's top choices to star as the Phantom, a disfigured musical genius who lurks in the catacombs of an opera house in Paris.

Jackman could not accept the Phantom role because he was committed to playing Peter Allen in the New York version of The Boy From Oz.

"I think Andrew and Hugh had many conversations about playing the Phantom, but he was contracted to do The Boy From Oz, Phantom's director Joel Schumacher said.

Webber and Schumacher cast Scottish actor Gerard Butler as the Phantom and, with praise from critics, the 34-year-old has emerged as one of the early leading candidates for the best actor Oscar.

Academy members have shown in recent years they have a fondness for musicals, with Moulin Rouge gaining eight nominations in 2002 and Chicago 11 nominations in 2003.

Jackman's trophy cabinet is not empty.

The Australian actor was crowned the king of Broadway earlier this year for his portrayal of Allen, winning a Tony award - Broadway's version of the Oscars.

Butler, best known for starring alongside Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, is playing down any Oscar talk.

"Oh my God," Butler said, when asked about the possibility of an Oscar nomination.

I find that a very difficult notion to contend with. I still think of myself as Gerry Butler the boy from Scotland rather than playing the Phantom and maybe getting an Oscar nomination."

Butler was the only one of the Phantom's three leads who did not have a stage musical background, although he was a former lead singer of Scottish pub band Speed.

Emmy Rossum, the 18-year-old American beauty who plays the innocent chorus girl Christine, was trained at New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Another American, 31-year-old Patrick Wilson, in the role of Vicompte Raoul de Chagny, was nominated for a Tony in 2002 for his Broadway performance of Curly in Oklahoma - the same role that launched Jackman on the international stage.

 


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