The Prestige reunites Jackman with Johansson. He plays an ambitious magician involved in a feud. The New York Times praises the film as "stuffed with hard-working actors, sleek effects and stagy period details… an intricate and elaborate machine designed for the simple purpose of diversion."
Jackman lends his vocal talents to the animated features Happy Feet and Flushed Away. In Flushed Away, Jackman plays Roddy, a spoiled pet mouse who, by a strange twist of fate, winds up trying to survive in a London sewer. In Happy Feet, he voices the penguin Memphis – dad of protagonist penguin, Mumble – and warbles to his onscreen wife Norma Jean voiced by Nicole Kidman.
Jackman stars in three roles opposite Rachel Weisz in Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain. In the film, which hurdles through space and time, all of Jackman's characters – he plays a medical researcher, a Spanish conquistador, and a 26th century space voyager – live during different points of history. Variety declares "charismatic Jackman (and his chiseled cheekbones) does his best to carry the film through its many lulls."
The 40-year-old father of two nabs the cover of PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive issue. Jackman, who stars opposite Nicole Kidman in the epic Australia, is dubbed a romantic in a hard body. Of his most admired feature, the Aussie hunk tells PEOPLE: "Lately my pecs. I'm being honest!"
Jackman hosts the 81st annual Academy Awards, bringing his showman skills to Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. In his opening skit, the Aussie hunk lifts nominated actress Anne Hathway out of her seat and into a spoof of nominated movie Frost/Nixon, and sings a medley with Beyoncé, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. "I never imagined that I'd one day have the chance to be up on that stage myself," he said prior to the show. "I am very grateful to the academy for giving me this opportunity."
Despite being prematurely leaked online, X-Men Origins: Wolverine kicks off the summer movie season with an impressive $87 million. Jackman packed on the muscle for his fourth go-around as the indestructible mutant, leading costar Ryan Reynolds to proclaim he "looked a lot like a guy who was going to make a necklace out of my teeth."
Jackman portrays a boxer who trains robots in Real Steel, opposite Evangeline Lilly. "I don't really enjoy training," Jackman confesses to Men's Health of preparing for the boxing flick with fighter Sugar Ray Leonard. "The intensity that a fighter possesses. [Leonard] taught me how to express that without words." The film tops the box office during opening weekend, pulling in more than $27 million.
Putting his singing voice on display yet again, Jackman stars as convict Jean Valjean in the movie adaptation of Les Misérables, for which he wins the best actor in a comedy/musical Golden Globe and earns SAG Award and Oscar nominations. "The one thing I relate to about Jean is that I'm probably a little hard on myself," he tells Parade. "Jean lives with this constant striving to be a better man, but he never feels he attains it, and I, too, strive all the time."
After a second bout of skin cancer, Jackman opens up about being safe in the sun. "Tell all your readers: get checkups, wear sunscreen. It's all about prevention," he tells PEOPLE. "I figure for some people reading it, if Wolverine says it, it might be different than if your parent or wife or husband says it."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Touchstone Pictures; DreamWorks/Everett; Warner Bros.; Michael Yada/EPA; Twentieth Century FOX; DreamWorks; Laurie Sparham/Universal Pictures; Eric Charbonneau/AP