Hugh Jackman on His First Emmy Nom for Acting and Why Ryan Reynolds Is 'Furious' With the Academy (Exclusive)

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Hugh Jackman
Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

Hugh Jackman is an Emmy nominee, and Ryan Reynolds is not. The Bad Education star earned his first Emmy nod for acting on Tuesday for his role as corrupt superintendent Dr. Frank Tassone in the HBO film, and joined ET via video chat to talk about the honor -- and to rub a little salt in the wound of his famous friend.

"Blake just texted me. Said he won't get out of bed, he's furious," Jackman joked with ET's Rachel Smith of his hilarious faux feud with the Deadpool star. "He's very angry with the Academy. He'll be fine. He'll spend three or four days in bed, you know, and then he'll get over it."

Jackman was previously nominated four times at the Emmys for his hosting duties at the Tonys and Oscars -- winning in 2005 for the 58th Tony Awards -- but his Bad Education nod marks his first for a scripted performance. The Australian actor called the honor "a nice bit of news in what is a difficult time for everyone." 

"Particularly, you know, when I see the list of actors who are up for it and the quality that is happening on television now," he raved. "Honestly it's a great honor. I've been in the business for 25 years, so, you know, I wanna say to someone like [Normal People star] Paul Mescal, who is nominated -- and he's 22 -- I wanna say, 'Don't take this for granted, dude, it's not gonna happen every year... Well, it may, but probably won't, so enjoy. Make the most of it.'"

Celebrating in the Hamptons with his family (and newly clean-shaven face, after ridding himself of his quarantine beard for the Emmys press day), Jackman said he was looking forward to celebrating this year's awards in whatever capacity they are allowed to happen.

"Even though it's a weird year and a difficult year, I still feel, you know, the community will come together and find a way to celebrate," he said. "Which is ultimately what the Emmys or the Oscars or GRAMMYs are about. It's about the industry as a whole coming together."

"I think it's important, but I think [if we're] having it virtually, we'll find a way," he noted. "I tell you one positive about it being virtual, is no one will be hiding booze in their pocket. There will just be a bar off screen."

"And I will get dressed up," Jackman added, with a laugh, "but I can't promise from the waist down."

The actor admitted that there are a mix of emotions when it comes to portraying and being nominated for a character who's based on a real-life person, such as Tassone, and it wasn't a role he took lightly.

"They're alive and everyone who knows them is alive, and it's also the worst moment of his life," he noted. "I'm sure this is painful and I do take that really seriously when I do it. The reason for telling the story in Bad Education is not to bash Frank again... I think it's just in terms of reminding us all [that] we can slip, we can start to convince ourselves that things are OK that are really not OK, and that happens just in small inches."

And while the adapted story is "70% true," Jackman was wholly enthusiastic about the support he had from his Bad Education co-stars in crafting his performance and landing a nomination not just for his role but for the film, in the Outstanding Television Movie category, which he said was the "extra icing on the cake."

"There's one scene where Allison [Janney]'s character kind of gets called aside by the school board and is being dressed down for what she's done, she's been found out," he recalled. "She maybe did four or five takes, two takes on each side, and it was maybe 10,15 minutes. And I thought, you know, I studied at drama school for four years. I could have forgone all of that for these 10 minutes... I was in awe of her."

For now, the cast -- which also features Ray Romano, Geraldine Viswanathan, Alex Wolff, Rafael Casal and more -- will wait and see if they're able to reunite on the red carpet at the 2020 Emmy Awards. In the meantime, Jackman says, he's been enjoying reading, working with his Laughing Man Coffee Company and Foundation and spending some "bonus time" with wife Deborra-Lee Furness and their kids, Oscar and Ava.

"I've got a 15 and a 20 year old, so let's be honest, they don't really wanna spend the summer with their parents," he joked. "But I'm taking those moments when I can get 'em and it's been nice."

And while his next project, a Broadway revival of The Music Man opposite Sutton Foster, is on hold for now, he's looking forward to getting back to work as soon as safety permits.

"The latest I'm hearing for Broadway is spring next year," he explained. "We're gonna rehearse in February, we're going to preview in April and open May 20. I think people feel very confident that that will happen. So, you know, we'll wait and see. Obviously, there's a lot to get right to convince people to come back to the theater, but fingers crossed."

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