HOLLYWOOD — “Outside of Australia, it is the most impressive collection of wealth and power since Rupert Murdoch dined alone,” Excellence in Entertainment honoree Hugh Jackman said of the crowd of 1,300-plus Aussie diplomats, business leaders and celebs gathered at the Penfolds Icon Dinner at the Hollywood Palladium on Jan. 14.
Gala, which kicked off G’Day LA: Australia Week 2006, also honored Olivia Newton-John with a Lifetime Achievement award, as well as the band INXS.
Aussie thesp Eric Bana, who flew in from Germany– where he was promoting “Munich” — to introduce Jackman, said: “Just his name alone inspires the following response: from men — ‘ehh’ (nod your head approvingly) — and from women ‘ahh’ (smile and swoon a little).”
And Jackman did indeed elicit those responses as he took the stage, joking about the duo’s reputation at Universal Studios. “One year Bana had ‘Hulk’ and the next I had ‘Van Helsing,’ he said. “Whenever we’re at Universal, they call us the franchise killers.”