Michelle Obama Makes Surprise Oscars Appearance, Reads Best Picture

Michelle Obama Oscars Presenter - H 2013
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Michelle Obama Oscars Presenter - H 2013

The first lady made an appearance via video to pay tribute to Hollywood.

Argo was the expected best picture winner; the presenter, Michelle Obama, was the big surprise.

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The first lady appeared via video screen to present the top Oscar, an unexpected moment that shocked the audience. Introduced by Jack Nicholson, Obama paid tribute to Hollywood, celebrating movies "that lift spirits, broaden our minds and transport us to places we never imagined."

"These nine movies took us back in time and all around the world," she said. "They made us laugh, made us weep, and they made us grip our armrests 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."

Wearing the Naeem Khan dress she wore to the White House governors dinner earlier in the evening, the first lady made the unannounced appearance live from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, officials said.

"The Academy Awards approached the First Lady about being a part of the ceremony," said Communications Director Kristina Schake. "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."

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The first lady has made education one of her top priorities and has emphasized the importance of the arts in child development. On Feb. 13, she hosted the director and stars of Beasts of the Southern Wild at the White House as part of a day dedicated to art education. Her comments Sunday echoed her devotion to film-as-enrichment.

"These lessons apply to all of us no matter who we are or what we look like or where we come from and who we love," she said. "But they are especially important for our young people. Every day, through engagement in the arts, our children learn to open their imaginations, to dream just a little bigger and to strive every day to reach those dreams. And I want to thank all of you here tonight for being part of that vitally important work."

After Nicholson read the names of the nine best picture nominees, Obama called up the producers of Argo: Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

Washington has been deeply involved in the best picture race this year. President Barack Obama held a screening of Lincoln at the White House in November, while Vice President Joe Biden and several senators met with Silver Linings Playbook's David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper to discuss mental health. Argo held a screening at the CIA, while Zero Dark Thirty came under scrutiny for its producers' relationship with certain members of the clandestine service.

Video via NowThis News.