(Photo: Pete Souza/White House)
First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise cameo at the Academy Awards Sunday night, joining Jack Nicholson to present the Oscar for best picture.
Her message was broadcast on a screen from the White House.
She told the cheering crowd (all subsequent emphasis added):
"Welcome to the White House, everyone. I am so honored to help introduce this year's nominees for best picture, and to help celebrate the movies that lift our spirits, broaden our minds, and transport us to places we have never imagined...
"These 9 movies took us back in time and all around the world. They made us laugh, they made us weep, and they made us grip our arm rests just a little tighter. They taught us that love can endure against all odds, and transform our lives in the most surprising ways. And they reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage to believe in ourselves. These lessons apply to all of us no matter who we are, or what we look like, or who we love..."
After a short clip of the 9 contenders, Nicholson turned and faced the screen asking: "Mrs. Obama, do you have your envelope?"
"Not yet, Jack, but I'm about to," she responded before announcing "Argo" as the best picture.
Nikki Finke, who is "live snarking" the Oscars for Deadline Hollywood, commented:
Oh My God: The Academy actually drafts First Lady Michelle Obama to help present Best Picture from presumably the White House? So unnecessary and inappropriate to inject politics into the Oscars yet again. Hollywood will get pilloried by conservative pundits tomorrow. I don’t understand this very obvious attempt to turn off right-leaning audiences. Clearly the studios only want to sell their movies to half of America.
Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin added:
Alas, none of the films nor her aides reminded her to mention the military, not those personnel behind her nor those serving overseas, an odd omission for the White House that nevertheless was pleased to have them arrayed behind her like, well, set decoration.
She did have time to give a crumb to the gay community, applauding the movies that inspire us ”no matter who we are or what we look like or who we love,” adding that “they are especially important for our young people.” (Except when they contain gruesome violence, traffic in stereotypes or use gratuitous profanity, I guess.) Real heroes, such as our servicemen and servicewomen, inspire us, too, I would think.
Still, it would have been grand if the lefty-maligned “Zero Dark Thirty” (which showed the nasty interrogation techniques her husband deplored) had won Best Picture. Unfortunately, that sort of perfect karma happens only in the movies.
This post has been updated.