The Oscar nominations this year were dominated by politically themed movies like “Lincoln,” “Argo” and many pictures heavy with the kind of social-injustice message that still resonate with audiences after decades of time, like “Les Miserables” and “Django Unchained.”
But one of the night’s surprises was the appearance by remote video of first lady Michelle Obama, who looked stunning in a sleek, silver gown by Naeem Khan. Mrs. Obama said she was honored to be a part of the ceremony to introduce nominees for the Best Picture, then she was handed the envelope and without much ceremony, announced “Argo” as the winner.
According to a report from The Hill, Kristina Schake, communications director for the first lady, told the press: "The Academy Awards approached the first lady about being a part of the ceremony. 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."
“Argo” was based on the real life rescue of six Americans who were held captive during the Iranian revolution. Ben Affleck produced, directed and starred in the movie. Hollywood was stunned when Affleck wasn’t nominated for best director, but his movie was nominated for Best Picture. Not the first time it’s happened, but it’s pretty rare.
No matter, Affleck got plenty of redemption by picking up the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, Producer’s Guild Award, Directors Guild Award and the top prize came last as he picked up an Oscar for Best Picture.
Affleck was clearly excited and tried to be gracious after his win to close the 2013 Oscars as quoted in the LA Times:
"It doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life. All that matters is that you gotta get up."
Affleck, who toyed with the idea of running for Sen. John Kerry’s seat, is very politically astute and has appeared on numerous talk shows in the past few years. In 2012, on the Bill Maher Show, Affleck clashed with Republican Darrell Issa over Obama policies in Libya.
The 2013 Oscars had a number of “firsts,” including host Seth MacFarlane, a visit from the future by captain James T. Kirk and the first-ever Oscar presentation by a White House First Lady.
It was a fun night watched by approximately 100 million people. The number, “one billion,” which has traditionally been an assumed number, gets contested every year. Just one more thing for pundits to pick apart; everything from how many people watched to who looked the best and worst.
Still, it was a nice breather from contentious politics of the day and Mrs. Obama appeared to enjoy the break, too.