First lady Michelle Obama, surrounded by servicemen and women, made a surprise appearance at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony when she appeared via live video from Washington to present the award for Best Picture. Jack Nicholson was present on stage to hand off the award to Ben Affleck for Argo.
Obama praised the nominees for the night's highest honor, saying the films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar could teach lessons that "apply to all of us no matter who we are, what we look like, where we come from and who we love." She said she was excited to pay tribute to movies that "lift our spirits, broaden our minds and transport us to places we can never imagine."
Obama then announced Argo as the Oscar winner for Best Picture, a film about the Iran hostage crisis that celebrated a collaboration of the movie industry and Washington.
Some thought the surprise appearance was another inappropriate mix of Hollywood and politics, with President Barack Obama often being accused of using the industry to campaign. Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post called the first lady's appearance "downright weird:"
It is not enough that President Obama pops up at every sporting event in the nation. Now the first lady feels entitled, with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining (this time for the benefit of the Hollywood glitterati who so lavishly paid for her husband's election). I'm sure the left will holler that once again conservatives are being grouchy and have it in for the Obamas. Seriously, if they really had their president's interests at heart, they'd steer away from encouraging these celebrity appearances. It makes both the president and the first lady seem small and grasping.
A spokeswoman for the first lady said the Academy Awards approached Obama about presenting the award ceremony:
As a movie lover, she was honored to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all—especially our young people—with their passion, skill and imagination.
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