Broadway song-and-dance man - and sometime wolfiedude -

Hugh Jackman

will host the 81st Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 22, organizers announced yesterday.

Hugh, 40, who reached the pinnacle of his career recently when he was named People's Sexiest Man Alive, is not an obvious choice. The job usually goes to comedians - who go on to make the flattest, most asinine jokes of their careers. (Previous victims include

Jon Stewart


Ellen DeGeneres


Whoopi Goldberg


Steve Martin


Chris Rock


Billy Crystal


But Hugh, whose hirsute


character Wolverine has a skeleton fortified with the metal alloy adamantium (

way cool

. . .), is no slouch when it comes to kudosfests: He was twice nominated for an Emmy for hosting the Tonys, winning in '05.

Le Bag meets Le Nude Hottie


Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

, is taking clothing vendor Pardon (


, indeed) to court for marketing bags bearing a b&w image of her in the buff. (The '93 photo doesn't give French President

Nicolas Sarkozy

's wife the image befitting her station.) Carla seeks $165,200 in damages, which she says she will give to charity. Nary a comment - or a


- from Pardon.

The winter of Paula's discontent


American Idol

exec producer

Nigel Lythgoe


Access Hollywood


Paula Abdul

never informed the show that

Paula Goodspeed

, who auditioned for the show in '05, had stalked her for years. Goodspeed recently was found dead outside Abdul's house, an apparent suicide. Abdul claims producers knew the obsessed fan was potentially dangerous. The


judge claims folks at Fox thought Goodspeed would be perfect bait for

Simon Cowell

's insults. Meanwhile, rumors persist that Abdul is "as good as gone" from


, to quote, which cites anon sources who say Abdul wants to quit.

Anniversary do at the Academy

Philly-born actress

Blythe Danner

and funnyman-actor

Fred Willard

will help celebrate the Academy of Music's 152d anniversary with a concert, dinner and gala ball on Jan. 24. The event will feature performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra, with guest star singer-songwriter

James Taylor

. Info: 215-893-1940 or



Ushering in No. 2


and his wife,

Tameka Raymond

, on Wednesday welcomed their second son,

Naviyd Ely Raymond

. Their first,

Usher Raymond V

, was born last November. Tameka has three kids from a previous marriage.