Jackman to Oscars, Luhrmann to New York

Fox sends 'Australia' down under, but big projects await its director and co-star

The announcement of Hugh Jackman as the host of the 81st Oscars won't make anyone's Top 10 list of shockers for 2008, but it certainly wasn't what most of us expected.

However, the apparent decision by Twentieth Century Fox to give up on director Baz Luhrmann's epic "Australia" was no surprise at all.

Released more than five weeks ago, the film starring Jackman and Nicole Kidman pulled in a mere $44.3 million in ticket sales in the US and Canada, but cost $130 million to make and garnered not a single nomination for any of the pre-Oscar awards programs.

That means the only way Jackman was going to make it to the Oscars this year was as a host.

Fox did alright for itself as well with its dog comedy "Marley & Me" coming in at No. 1 for the holiday season.

As for Luhrmann, he's expected to direct an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic "The Great Gatsby" for the screen, a development that has stirred the interest of many LA writers and readers who count the book as a favorite.

LA writer Mark Savas at The Elegant Variation headlined his opinion on the news "The End of the World as We Know It," and has invited suggestions of a "worse director to take on 'The Great Gatsby.'"

Entertainment writer Nikki Finke, who broke the news on Luhrmann's "Gatsby" project, has invited readers to make casting suggestions.

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