Michelle Obama's Oscars Moment Was Pretty Controversial, Actually

Esther Zuckerman
The Atlantic Wire

It began as a seemingly awkward Jack Nicholson introduction of the very long list on nominees, but the Best Picture denouement at a very long Oscars ceremony on Sunday turned into a surprise appearance by Michelle Obama, via satellite from the Governors' Ball in Washington, D.C.—where earlier she had sat next to Chris Christie—to introduce and announce the winner, Argo

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"These nine 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 armrests just a little tighter," Obama said. "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 can dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage to believe in ourselves." 

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After telling Nicholson to hang on a second, the First Lady was handed an envelope to announce the winner: 

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Of course, the event provoked strong reactions:

i love how Michelle Obama was all like: oh, sorry, i was, just hangin with some US servicemen, hold on a sec - lemme present at the #oscars

— Paula Froelich (@Pfro) February 25, 2013

Daniel Day Lewis’s Michelle Obama is GOOD

— Juli Weiner (@juliweiner) February 25, 2013

Having Nicholson introduce Michelle Obama probably spared us from the ultimate McFarlane sexist joke #Oscars

— daveweigel (@daveweigel) February 25, 2013

And, of course, it also produced some backlash from some who thought that Obama was doing too many celebrity-laden appearances—this is the same weekend she did the "Evolution of Mom Dancing" with Jimmy Fallon.

Michelle Obama is doing WAY too many cameos. bad memories of nancy reagan on Mr. T's lap

— David Plotz (@davidplotz) February 25, 2013

RT @abenedikt: MIchelle Obama jumps the shark.

— Slate (@Slate) February 25, 2013

And of course there was the conservative response: 

Of course they have to ruin the Oscars with Michelle Obama...

— #RepublicanGirlProbs (@RepubGrlProbs) February 25, 2013

But maybe she just doesn't care? 

Michelle Obama so over being worried about Republicans and their Hollywood liberal elitist insults

— Willa Paskin (@willapaskin) February 25, 2013

Yeah, she was just happy to be there:

It was a thrill to announce the #Oscars2013 best picture winner from the @whitehouse! Congratulations Argo! -mo

— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) February 25, 2013