(LOS ANGELES) — While everyone knows that the spy-thriller Argo won best picture, thanks to first lady Michelle Obama’s presentation of the award on Sunday, it turns out that her appearance was a bit of a secret operation itself.
Producers of the Academy Awards are revealing the lengths they went to in order to get Mrs. Obama to appear in the ceremony and to keep her appearance a surprise until the last second.
Producer Craig Zadan told The Hollywood Reporter that the idea for Mrs. Obama’s appearance was first pitched by Harvey Wienstein’s daughter Lily. The producers liked the idea, and flew out to the White House in secret, telling many of their colleagues that they were going to New York instead. They kept the details of the trip and their plans off of any manifests and program runs to prevent leaks.
When asked, the first lady agreed immediately, saying that it was a great idea, and noting that the first family watches movies at the White House all the time in the private theatre. Obama and the producers then surveyed various rooms of the White House to decide where she should broadcast from.
Obama was introduced by film legend Jack Nicholson on the Dolby Theatre stage in Los Angeles. Nicholson had a second envelope with the winner in it, in case a technical error with the connection upset their well-laid plans.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN
Frank Pallotta, CNN