How Secrets and Lies Got Michelle Obama To The Oscars
Michelle Obama's appearance at the Oscars 2013 was kept heavily under wraps.
Michelle Obama was the surprise turn at an otherwise predictable Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday evening (February 24, 2013), presenting the prize of Best Picture to Iranian hostage drama Argo via video-link up. A debate soon erupted on social networking sites: was it right and proper for the First Lady of the United States of America to be getting involved with the Oscars? Right or not, it proved one hell of a job keeping the whole thing under wraps, as the New York Times has since discovered.
"The Academy Awards approached the first lady about being a part of the ceremony," said Kristina Schake, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Obama. "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." The original idea to have Mrs Obama participate in the ceremony was hatched by the producers, with film mogul Harvey Weinstein also having a hand in proceedings. "Literally from the first day we were hired we thought, 'How can we make this special?'" said Neil Meron, who helmed the event with Craig Zadan. "We were hoping Obama would win [the elected] so we could have our plan executed." Meron and Zadan soon discovered that Mr Weinstein was pretty close to the Obama family, and the Django Unchained producer made the initial calls. "If we went through normal channels the odds were small it would happen," said Zadan.
The initial plan was for Mrs Obama to guest at the awards show, though the First Lady had a conflict of engagements. After agreeing on a video-link, Meron and Zadan were given a private flight for the trip to Washington though told people they were heading to New York to avoid suspicion. The only other invited Oscars guest to know of the surprise was actor Jack Nicholson, who presented Mrs Obama from the stage in Hollywood. Wearing a shimmering Naeem Khan gown, the First Lady did the honours and opened the all-important envelope to reveal Ben Affleck's C.I.A drama as the winner of this year's Oscar for Best Picture.