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The biggest surprise of this year’s Oscars wasn’t just a tie in one category or Christoph Waltz winning Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained. First Lady Michelle Obama surprised the crowd by appearing via satellite from the White House to help Jack Nicholson introduce the Best Picture nominees.
“(These films) taught us that love can beat all odds,” Obama said in her speech about the nine films up for the award, which went to Argo. “They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves.”
Now that the show is over, the behind-the-scenes stories that put it together are being told. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Harvey Weinstein, an Obama supporter, helped put it together. His daughter, Lily, came up with the idea and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron agreed to try to do it. “The planning of it was like Argo -- it was a C.I.A. mission, it was so complicated. We didn't even want anyone to know where we were going,” Zadan told THR.
Not only did The White House like it as well, but so did Nicholson. To keep the plan secret, the Academy announced that Dustin Hoffman and Nicholson would present in the same press release, thinking that many would believe they’d present together. (Hoffman presented an award with Charlize Theron.)
While the plan was pulled off perfectly, it wasn’t without its critics. “This makes no sense, it adds nothing to the show,” an industry expert told Fox News. Another called it “stupid and pointless.”
Ben Affleck, whose film Argo won Best Picture, thought it was great. “I was hallucinating at that point...I was asking people, 'was that Michelle Obama?' It was a huge honor, and the fact she was surrounded by servicemen and women. It was very cool,” Affleck said after the show.