First lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the Oscars last night, but avoided all the red carpet fuss by linking in via satellite live from the White House to present the Academy Award for Best Picture to "Argo."
"[These films] taught us that love can beat all odds," Obama said during the Best Picture introduction. "They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves."
It's through cinema, Obama said, that "our children learn to open their imagination and dream just a little bigger and to strive every day to reach those dreams."
"Argo," a film about a plan executed by the CIA to rescue six Americans trapped in Iran during the Carter-era hostage crisis, went head to head with other politically driven films such as "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty," but came out on top. In her surprise appearance, Michelle Obama presented the award live from the Diplomatic Room of the White House.
Not everyone approved of the first lady giving an award at a high-profile entertainment event.
Richard Brody wrote on the New Yorker's website "though I'm a great admirer of the first lady, I found Michelle Obama's appearance to open the Best Picture envelope, accompanied by the gold-braided honor guard behind her, wildly inappropriate in its affirmation of the hard power behind the soft power -- the connection of real politics to the representational politics of the movies, of the peculiar and long-standing symbiosis of Washington and Hollywood -- all the more so when the matter of access to inside government information is a key issue with the making of 'Zero Dark Thirty.'"
Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote on the Washington Post's website:
"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.] "
But, as usual, Michelle Obama also had plenty of people on her side as well.
The only way conservatives would be more mad at Michelle Obama is if she redistributed the Oscar to a poor family: on.cc.com/13hVZKn
— Indecision (@indecision) February 25, 2013
Michelle Obama is grace incarnate. What a great move by the Oscar producers.
— Edward Douglas (@EDouglasWW) February 25, 2013
SOMEBODY GIVE MICHELLE OBAMA AN OSCAR FOR BEING AWESOME. #oscars
— Imani ABL (@AngryBlackLady) February 25, 2013