First Lady scores a first at the Oscars: Michelle Obama presents Best Picture award
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Monday 25 February 2013
There’s a first time for everything at the Oscars, including the First Lady. Last night Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the Academy Awards, presenting a gong via a live satellite link-up from the White House in Washington DC.
Mrs Obama paid tribute to the movie industry, before opening the crucial gold envelope and naming Ben Affleck’s Argo Best Picture. Bill Clinton recently appeared at the Golden Globes to introduce Steve Spielberg’s presidential biopic Lincoln, but this is the first time any president or first lady has presented an Academy Award.
After the ceremony, the White House and the Academy explained how Mrs Obama’s appearance had been organised. The idea was reportedly first mooted by Lily Weinstein, daughter of Harvey Weinstein, the veteran Oscar campaigner and producer of Best Picture contender Silver Linings Playbook, who also hosted a multimillion-dollar Hollywood fundraiser for the President during his re-election campaign last year. Miss Weinstein suggested the plan to her father, who brought it to the Oscar producers and to Academy president Howard Koch. The group then flew to Washington within the last fortnight to thrash out the logistics.
Mrs Obama was unable to attend the ceremony personally, as she and the President were hosting a dinner for state Governors in Washington. In a statement, the White House said, “The Academy Awards approached the First Lady about being a part of the ceremony. As a movie lover, she was honoured to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all – especially our young people – with their passion, skill and imagination.”
Speaking to the press backstage after the ceremony, Argo’s director said he was “sort of hallucinating” as Jack Nicholson introduced Mrs Obama to the audience at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. “Over the course of a hallucination, it doesn't seem that odd,” said Affleck. “Oh, a purple elephant. Oh, Michelle Obama… In retrospect, anyway, it was very cool.”
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre