Friday, April 19, 2024

Secrets of the 2013 Oscars: How Michelle Obama Became a Presenter Etc.


Oscars. Ergo, Argo. Ben Affleck wasn’t best director but he won Best Picture. Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Day Lewis, Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway all won acting awards. Ang Lee was Best director for Life of Pi. Everybody won something. The Oscar show was terrific, from top to bottom. All the musical numbers were excellent. Michelle Obama was a knockout surprise presenter.

This is how that happened: the Academy wanted Michelle Obama. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron went to producer Harvey Weinstein for help. They all say it was Harvey’s daughter, Lily, who had the idea to do a live satellite hookup.

As it turned out the First Lady was busy entertaining 60 mayors this weekend at the White House so she couldn’t leave anyway.Zadan, Meron, Harvey and Lily, and Hawk Koch, the head of AMPAS, all flew to Washington a couple of weeks ago and nailed down a plan with Michelle Obama.

That they kept it a secret is pretty amazing. And that included making Jack Nicholson part of it.

Meantime, the Oscar show, I thought, was excellent. I haven’t been able to watch it on TV yet, but in person it was a knockout. Highlights included Jennifer Hudson’s amazing delivery of her “Dreamgirls” song, Shirley Bassey old schooling it on “Goldfinger,” and Adele having Sony supply a special orchestra and singers for “Skyfall.” Barbra Streisand brought the audience to its feet with “The Way We Were.” Norah Jones was absolutely lovely.

At the swanky Governor’s Ball, Streisand and Adele finally met, and hit it off like a house on fire.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban skipped the Ball because Nicole starts shooting a new film with Colin Firth in the UK on Tuesday. I was so delighted to see them–they are really a happy, warm couple.

Offstage: Sally Field came swooping down to the little bar off the stage right after she lost Best Supporting Actress to Anne Hathaway. “I need a bathroom and a glass of wine!” she declared. Both were conjured up for her right away. Sally is a lot of fun, and — with two Oscars– was philosophical about losing.

Who hung out in the bar for some time? Why, Rupert Murdoch. He was chatting up producers and financiers including Ryan Kavanagh of Relativity.

Not too long into the show, Mark Wahlberg turned up in the Dolby bar wearing street clothes– a long sleeved t shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Did he not get the memo about black tie? Mark laughed. “I thought I’d change here. Impossible at home with kids, etc. ”

Keep refreshing…


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News