He's a favourite to scoop a best actor award at today's Golden Globes, but Hugh Jackman admitted he was star-struck at last night's G'Day USA black-tie gala when surrounded by three childhood heroes.
Taking to the stage at the sold-out JW Marriott ballroom to honour actor/comedian Paul Hogan as an Australian icon, Jackman said: "For me, I'm pinching myself cause I'm sitting next to a true idol, someone I wanted to emulate, John Travolta, and over my shoulder is Mel Gibson and then there's my teen and adult and everyone's crush, apart from you Deb, Olivia Newton-John!"
After giving a hilarious 6-minute speech, Hogan told WHO being called an Aussie icon "was better than a lot of things people have called me in the past". Hogan's wife Linda Kozlowski, in a figure-skimming Zac Posen gown, said: "It's so nice to have something positive happen for him after all the bad stuff," referring to Hogan's past tax dramas.
Also honoured at the 1000-strong event heaving with Australia's Hollywood elite, including Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Naomi Watts, Toni Collette and Jacki Weaver, was actress Rose Byrne, stunning in a DVF jumpsuit. Her Damages co-star Glenn Close, who described Byrne as "intoxicating, sexy, intriguing", told the crowd: "I'm proud to be celebrating you tonight; I love you Rose." On the red carpet earlier, Close told WHO she loves Australians because "they have an extraordinary depth of talent - and they sure know how to drink!"
Enjoying the first of two date nights in a row were Kidman and Urban, who kissed throughout the event. Both stars are up for Golden Globes awards today and while Kidman said they were "excited" to attend the Globes, the G'Day USA gala is "more relaxed because you're in a room full of friends, people who've grown up with, and Aussies know how to party!"
Actress Jacki Weaver said she "was having the time of her life" since her surprise Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook. "I'm just so thrilled and I really didn't think I'd get one cos I didn't get any of the other awards, which is fine because all my mates did. Then suddenly my picture came up on the TV and I was in my Qantas PJs running around the room punching the air," Weaver told WHO.
As guests feasted on delicacies created by celebrity chef Curtis Stone, singers Jessica Mauboy, Jack Vidgin, David Campbell and didgeridoo player William Barton wowed the crowd celebrating the 10th anniversary of the G'Day USA festival.
The gala, hosted by Qantas, is the highlight of the annual multi-city G'Day USA festival, which showcases Australia entertainment, food, wine, tourism and sport to America.