Michelle Obama made surprising Hollywood history Sunday night by becoming the first First Lady to present an Oscar — giving the Best Picture award to “Argo.”
In share-the-wealth mode, Oscar voters spread Sunday’s honors among a range of films, with “Argo” winning three trophies but “Life of Pi” leading with four.
Broadcast live from the Diplomatic Room at the White House, Obama was the shocker in a 3 1/2-hour show with few shocks.
“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.”
“Argo” also won best film editing and best adapted screenplay for its gripping and often comedic tale of the CIA mission to rescue six U.S. diplomats from Tehran shortly after the Islamic Revolution.
“So many wonderful people extended their help to me when they had nothing to benefit from it … you can’t hold grudges. It’s hard, but you can’t hold grudges.
It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life, because it happens. All that matters is that you get up,” the 40-year-old Affleck, who also produced the film, said in an emotional acceptance speech.
It was the second Academy Award for Affleck, who scored his first in 1997 for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with buddy Matt Damon.
It was the first film to win the top prize without getting a Best Director nomination since 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy.”
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.
Actually Day-Lewis’ win made history: He is the first to win three lead actor Oscars. He previously won for 1989’s “My Left Foot” and 2007’s “There Will Be Blood.”
“I really don’t know how any of this happened,” said Day-Lewis, who has dual Anglo-Irish citizenship.
Jennifer Lawrence was named Best Actress for playing a feisty young widow in comedy “Silver Linings Playbook”, tripping up on her Dior dress while was going up on the stage.
“You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell,” Lawrence joked as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
Anne Hathaway won supporting actress for “Les Miserables,” and Christoph Waltz received supporting actor for “Django Unchained.”
“It came true,” Hathaway tearfully cooed at her statuette. “Here’s hoping that, some day in the not-so-distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine will only be found in stories, not in real life.”
For Waltz it was his second supporting-actor Oscar in a Quentin Tarantino film after previously winning for “Inglourious Basterds.” Tarantino also earned his second Oscar, for the “Django” screenplay, a category he previously won for “Pulp Fiction.”
But the biggest winner of the night was “Life of Pi,” which has defied expectations at every turn, says the LA Times.
“Life of Pi” — which entered the night with 11 nominations —won Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Original Score.
Its director, Ang Lee, won Best Director, outpacing StevenSpielberg (“Lincoln”), David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Notebook”), Michael Haneke (“Amour”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), writes the NY Daily News.
The foreign-language prize went to Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke’s old-age love story “Amour,” which tells the agonizing story of an elderly man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) tending his wife (Emmanuelle Riva) as she declines from age and illness.