First lady Michelle Obama announced the best picture category in a surprise appearance live from the White House at Sunday’s Academy Awards, crowning political drama “Argo” as the best picture.
Broadcast live from the Diplomatic Room at the White House, Obama was the shocker in a 3 1/2-hour show with few shocks.
The first lady appeared at the Oscars via video link and delivered a short speech on the importance of film before naming Ben Affleck’s drama as the overall winner for 2013.
He was joined by the film’s other producers, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, on stage.
Speaking from the White House, where Mrs.Obama and the president held the annual Governors’ Dinner, Michelle Obama congratulated all those involved with the nine films nominated for Best Picture.
“Welcome to the White House, everyone,” Obama said, wearing a silver Naeem Khan gown.
“And the Oscar goes to ‘Argo,’” the First Lady, decked out in a stunning Naeem Khan custom beaded, tulle and metallic sequin gown, announced.
This year’s movies “made us laugh, made us weep and grip our armrests just a little bit tighter,” she said.
“They reminded us we can overcome any obstacles if we dig deep enough and hard enough. They are especially important for young people.
Every day they engage in the arts, they learn to open their imaginations … and strive to reach those dreams.”
She thanked the filmmakers for creating the movies ‘that lift our spirits, broaden our minds, and transport us to places we have never imagined’.
As the Daily Mail reports, Mrs Obama was invited to present the award after producer Harvey Weinstein’s teenage daughter, Lily, made the suggestion, Academy president Hawk Koch told the Hollywood Reporter.
Koch and the Oscar producers agreed it was a great idea and pitched it to the First Lady, who responded: “We watch movies all the time at the White House. Let’s do it.”
The details were worked out with Mrs Obama’s staff two weeks ago in a secret plan producer Craig Zadan likened to Argo: “It was like a C.I.A mission, it was so complicated.”
“Argo’s” win was remarkable because it was only the fourth film in the Oscars’ 85-year history to win Best Picture without a corresponding Best Director nomination.
Affleck seemed thankful and nervous when he took the microphone after the film won. It was the second Academy Award for Affleck, who scored his first in 1997 for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with buddy Matt Damon.
“I want to thank our friends in Iran living in a terrible circumstance right now,” he said.
“I want to thank my wife [actress Jennifer Garner], who I don’t normally associate with Iran, but I want to thank you for working on our marriage. … It is work, but it’s the best kind of work and there’s no one I’d rather work with.”
Affleck, a producer on the film, gave an emotional acceptance speech that ended with a simple message: “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, all that matters is how you get back up.”
Other marquee winners were Daniel Day-Lewis for lead actor for “Lincoln,” Jennifer Lawrence for lead actress for “Silver Linings Playbook,” and Ang Lee for director for “Life of Pi,” which won four Oscars, the most for any film.