Thursday 18 December 2014

Stars stunned as Michelle Obama becomes first First Lady to present award

Tim Reid

Published 25/02/2013 | 09:03

First lady Michelle Obama, appearing on screen, and actor Jack Nicholson present the award for best picture during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.  (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
First lady Michelle Obama, appearing on screen, and actor Jack Nicholson present the award for best picture during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

US first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise and unprecedented appearance in the Oscars telecast when she presented the award for Best Picture, the first time a president or first lady has ever presented an Academy Award.

Appearing live on screen from the White House in Washington, almost 4,800km from the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood, Obama praised the work of the movie industry before announcing the Iran hostage drama "Argo" the Best Picture winner.

Wearing a silver evening dress, Obama said this year's nominated films had "made us laugh, made us weep and grip our armrests just a little bit tighter."

Obama added: "They reminded us we can overcome any obstacles if we dig deep enough and hard enough. They are especially important for young people. Every day they engage in the arts, they learn to open their imaginations ... and strive to reach those dreams."

Argo director and co-producer Ben Affleck said he felt like he was "sort of hallucinating" when Obama presented the award.

"The fact that it was the first lady was an enormous honour ... it was very cool," Affleck said backstage after collecting the Best Picture trophy.

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