Monday, February 25, 2013

Michelle Obama Makes Oscars Appearance – Thanks Movie Magic, Harvey Weinstein

02/25/2013 at 12:15 PM EST

Oscars 2013: Michelle Obama Presents Best Picture
Harvey Weinstein and Michelle Obama

 When Michelle Obama appeared on screen at the 85th Annual Academy Awards to present the Oscar for Best Picture, many were shocked that she was able to be part of Hollywood's Biggest Night.

But thanks to a little movie magic, the producers of ArgoBen Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov – were given their Award by the First Lady herself.

Here's how it became Oscar history:

According to The Hollywood Reporter, having the First Lady, 49, present Best Picture from the White House was all movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's daughter's idea.

Once the show's producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron were on board, the Academy approached the First Lady. Zadan says her response was, "Yes, I think it's a great idea. We watch movies all the time at the White House. Let's do it."

Two weeks before the show aired, Koch and producers flew to D.C. where they joined up with Weinstein and his daughter, Lily. Next, they met up with the First Lady's staff. It was soon decided that rather than appear by herself, she would appear with members of the military.

As for Mrs. Obama's co-presenter, Zadan and Meron approached Jack Nicholson – who they had worked with in their film The Bucket List. Once they explained the situation, the actor, 75, was immediately in.

Then on Sunday, the First Lady – wearing a glittering, custom, smoke-gray Naeem Khan gown and Sutra Silver at Fragments jewelry – presented the Best Picture Oscar live from the White House. While her appearance went off without a hitch – Nicholson was holding a second envelope with the winner at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, just in case they experienced any technical difficulties.

Michelle Obama Attacked For Oscars Appearance

Conservative Media Ignore Laura Bush, Ronald Reagan Appearances

Right-wing media are falsely suggesting that First Lady Michelle Obama's Academy Awards appearance is unprecedented, ignoring that former presidents and former First Lady Laura Bush have previously participated in the ceremony.
On Sunday, Obama made a surprise appearance via satellite at the 85th Academy Awards where she helped announce the Best Picture Oscar winner. According to a spokesman for Obama, the Academy contacted the first lady about being part of the ceremony.
Washington Post political blogger Jennifer Rubin, however, accused Obama of "feel[ing] entitled" to "intrude" on the ceremony, arguing that Obama's "celebrity appearance" made her seem "small and grasping":
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. In this case, it was just downright weird.
Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes likewise wrote on his Twitter feed that Obama "probably felt like she was entitled to upstage" the Oscars and accused the first lady of making the ceremony about her. called her appearance "obscene, and rather frightening in what it suggests about how low we have fallen as a nation."
In fact, former presidents and former First Lady Laura Bush have participated in Academy Awards ceremonies. In 2002, Bush appeared at the Oscars in a taped appearance. From the Chicago Tribune:
The documentary history montage was put together by director Penelope Spheeris, whose remarkable "Decline of Western Civilization" rock documentaries likely have never been even close to nominated.
And the show's marvelous "What do the movies mean to you?" opening segment was done by director Errol Morris, whose groundbreaking work, from "Thin Blue Line" through "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control," has also been criminally neglected.
It was bracing to see people from Laura Bush to Jerry Brown to Mikhail Gorbachev interviewed, and mind-bending to hear film titles such as Russ Meyer's "Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill" and William Castle's "The Tingler" mentioned on usually sacrosanct Oscar airspace.
In 1981, President Reagan taped an appearance for the Oscars. From The New York Times:
But now that Mr. Reagan has moved on to another profession, he's been invited to appear on the Academy Awards program on March 30.
The President will remain in the White House and tape a brief greeting to the audience at the Oscar ceremonies, and his words will be televised early in the awards show.
''President Reagan was once a member of our industry and it seemed fitting for him to join us,'' said Norman Jewison, producer of this year's show.
The Times also noted that former President Franklin D. Roosevelt "spoke to an Oscar audience by radio in 1941."

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