Sunday night’s Oscars were chock full of surprises, from Anne Hathaway’s confusing gown, to the major “Life of Pi” upset (it came away with more Oscar wins than the highly-touted “Argo”), to Jennifer Lawrence’s embarrassing fall en route to collect her first Oscar. Perhaps the most surprising and talked-about moment of the night though came when first lady Michelle Obama presented the award for “Best Picture.”
Viewers were hardly astonished to see the award go to “Argo” -- it received steady buzz throughout the awards season and statistical wunderkind Nate Silver had calculated the odds to be overwhelmingly in the film’s favor. However, Oscar watchers were nonetheless surprised when the FLOTUS appeared in a live telecast from the White House.
Clad in a glamorous silver custom-made Naeem Khan gown, the first lady spoke of the year’s nine contenders for Best Pictures, saying that they all, "made us laugh, made us weep and grip our armrests just a little bit tighter.
"[These films] taught us that love can beat all odds. They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves.
“They are especially important for young people. Everyday they engage in the arts, they learn to open their imaginations ... and strive to reach those dreams.”
After collecting the Best Picture award, “Argo” director Ben Affleck said he was still recovering from the shock of receiving the award directly from the first lady, adding he was “sort of hallucinating.”
“The fact that it was the first lady was an enormous honor ... it was very cool," Affleck said in a Reuters article.
Not everyone was as impressed with Obama’s involvement in the Hollywood ceremony, which marked the first time a first lady has presented an Oscar.
“Michelle Obama announcing it makes the Argo win seem even paltrier. Really really weird cultural moment,” Slate critic Dana Stevens tweeted.
New Yorker writer Richard Brody also commented on her appearance on Twitter, writing, “For anyone who doubted the Hollywood-Washington nexus; always happy to see Michelle Obama, but somehow, here, it's the wrong message.”
According to People magazine, Obama’s presentation came during the Governors' Dinner, so as other outlets mentioned, she had likely not dressed only for the Oscars. After presenting the award, Obama tweeted, “It was a thrill to announce the #Oscars2013 best picture winner from the @WhiteHouse! Congratulations Argo! –mo”