Michelle Obama had no place at the Oscars!

Published: February 27, 2013

Michelle Obama, dressed in a silvery, shimmery evening gown came out of the diplomatic room of the White House and announced the award. PHOTO: AFP

Ben Affleck created magic in the shape of Argo, a movie that deserved an Oscar this year, not because it was political but because it has all the essentials of an excellent movie. Along with a good script, the direction was brilliant, the cinematography was spot on, and above all it showcased a very good display of acting.

The thriller is adapted from the book “The Master of Disguise” by CIA operative Tony Mendez and Joshuah Berman’s article “The Great Escape” . It is the story of the Central Intelligence Agency rescue of six US diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.

The role of Mendez in this movie is played by Ben Affleck himself.

Yes, the film was excellent, but when the award went to Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov for the best movie this year, I was perplexed.

This is because the announcement of this award came from the White House!

The First Lady Michelle Obama, dressed in a silver, shimmery evening gown by designer Naeem Khan, came out of the diplomatic room of the White House and announced the award from 3,000 miles away from the nucleus of American politics; the president’s office.

This is the first time ever that the first lady did the honours at an Academy Awards function.

In the past Jackie Kennedy, Betty Ford (who was a dancer and actress before marrying President Gerald Ford), and Nancy Reagen (who was an established actress before marrying Ronald Reagan) were associated with Hollywood, but none of these first ladies ever did the honours of presenting awards at the Academy Awards. Additionally, they never made appearances at the Oscars.

As is well known by the world at large, Ahmadinejad’s regime in Iran doesn’t consider the US a well-wisher, nor does the Obama administration have any approbation for Iran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini or Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

Moreover the nuclear program of Iran and the sanctions imposed on them by the US and UN has already raised the temperature in the relations of both countries.

A fairly one-sided movie that was made against Iran and its policies should not have received this award from the First Lady and that too directly from the White House!

Why must politics seep in to entertainment?

Iran has already slammed the awards as being the most politically motivated Oscars to date. In another statement, the Iranian Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini was quoted saying,

“This anti-Iran movie lacks artistic value,”

Meanwhile the White House stated,

“The Academy Awards approached the first lady about being a part of the ceremony,” said Kristina Schake, a spokeswoman for the First Lady. “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.”

The movie has already won many awards at the Golden Globe, the 19th Screen Guild Awards and the 66th British Academy Film Awards but the biggest of all, the Oscar, was somewhat decisive and raised many questions about the validity and independence of the awards.

So at the end of the day, the question that puzzles me most is, was this award for ‘best movie’ decided beforehand and was it just a mere coincidence that the announcement of the award for the best movie came from White House- a movie that was anti-Iran- or did it play out exactly as it was planned?

Follow Umair or Twitter @umairaziz27

Umair Aziz

Umair Aziz

A techie by profession and a blogger by virtue who thinks writing is a tool of sharing thoughts, ideas and information we clutch. He runs his own blog under the name LeReveal. He tweets @umairaziz27

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel

    From now on we would also request Firdaus Aashiq Awaan to present LOSCAR Awards(Lollywood Scar Awards) to our actors.Recommend

  • Nadir

    a) Who cares

    b) Who cares

    c) Who cares

    d) All of the aboveRecommend

  • Imran

    US is having troubled times being at war & due to financial crisis. Hollywood not only earns US economy a big chunk of revenue but also employs a huge labor force which would otherwise add to the growing depression. With propaganda on the top, ‘Argo’ is a cash bonus for the falling morale of Americans. This time, US govt definitely could use some propaganda as well. So, looking from an American’s perspective, I would say, ‘why shouldn’t she present Oscar to this movie? And about politics in film industry, cinema has always been used for political purposes since its birth. Need any example(s), ask please.Recommend

  • doom

    Never would I have thought I would agree with someone with the title of “Islamic Guidance Minister” on movies…but not just Argo but pretty much all of Oscar movies lately lack artistic value. They are all mostly one-dimensional, matter-of-fact(or fiction) accounts with nothing artistic about them whatsoever. And yes, the politics does not help either.

    I think I may switch to French film. Iranian film is suppose to be pretty good too. Never seen any.Recommend

  • Observer

    We don’t need Pakis to tell us who can be at the Oscars. You all are beneficiaries of our charity so you do not give out any such opinions. You need to just concentrate on how best to lick our feet. You don’t even have the right to think of opinions regarding all things Americans.Recommend

  • Laila Dharamsey

    The word is “National Interest”, however, point well made!Recommend

  • Sane

    Oscar is awarded on political basis and to those who toe US line.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    You hit the nail on the head. This was a blatant anti-islamic act by the United States, an insult to Muslims everywhere. Pakistan should register a formal protest against the United States and ban Hollywood movies for sometime to teach the US a lesson.Recommend

  • cautious

    Yeah – the person who should have given the award is Jimmy Carter or perhaps Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark.Recommend

  • Sameer

    Why should every small mundane thing in the world (especially done by USA) be either a conspiracy or propaganda move.

    I think Iran and Pakistan think too highly of themselves … Americans don’t have you in mind when they are going about their daily lives.

    I think you should live your own lives too and stop watching American stuff and looking for motives behind everything that the WEST does.Recommend

  • gp65

    Haven’t seen the movie , so cannot comment on the artistic merit. The writer and the Islamic guidance minister both may find many people agreeing with them the film did not deserve an Oscar. That is fine and you are certainly entitled to the opinion.

    However that does not tell me why the Academy should not invite Michelle to be part of the ceremony nor why she should refuse to accept the invitation simply because other First Ladies had not performed such a role? There is always a first time for everything and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with what Michelle did.

    FInally keeping politics out of entertainment. Why? Hollywood is the strongest element of US’ soft power. Why should it voluntarily cease to perform that role? In any case entertainment in Pakistan primarily sems to consist of watching political talk shows – so it is not as though Pakistan keeps politics and entertainment separate either.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    This is an issue because…?

    Americans are just lively people. Whether it’s Obama dancing with Ellen, or the Governor of New Jersey parodying himself on Saturday Night Live.

    It’s just something political personalities do to remind the American public of their humanity. The First Lady (Star-sprangled banner plays in background) isn’t just the First Lady (Star-sprangled banner plays again), she’s also a real person named Michelle. Excuse her for participating in a classic American tradition, that is the Oscars ceremony.Recommend

  • Jane Doe

    I think the issue at hand is being over analysed. Michelle Obama is a very celebrated figure and not just a political representative. It is absolutely fine for her to present the award for best movie and we should not create unnecessary issues by linking ARGO’s plot to the presenter of the award.Recommend

  • Parvez

    You Sir should write the screen play for Argo 2 …………..don’t worry you’ll think of something to connect it with Argo.Recommend

  • RSK

    @Observer:

    Oh really? Your……charity? If you call drones, religious extremism and innocent deaths as “charity”, God yes you don’t deserve to be criticized. You deserve to be put into a madhouse!Recommend

  • Something Clever

    Anyone acting like it’s a big deal needs their head checked. It’s not like the position of “First lady” is an actual necessary government job. If it was, being married would be one requirement to run for president and it’s not. Being the first lady is basically summed up as optionally making public appearances that may or may not serve as bonus support for the president. She could sit on a couch watching TV all day and she still couldn’t be fired from the position of first lady. Though there has yet to be one, it would be the same way for a female president’s husband.
    But, yes, shame on her for neglecting her non-existent required duties as first lady. How dare the government, in any way, shape or form, interact with the public.
    Get over it.Recommend

  • Sane

    Observer 17 hours ago
    We don’t need Pakis to tell us who can be at the Oscars. You all are beneficiaries of our charity so you do not give out any such opinions. You need to just concentrate on how best to lick our feet. You don’t even have the right to think of opinions regarding all things Americans.

    Dear Moderator:

    When I posted my response to the above humiliating comment, you wiped that out. Is this a policy matter that we may be humiliated and insulted but can not response.Recommend

  • Faryal G

    @RSK:
    lol… dude… why do you give him importance by replying to his post. That’s what he wants. Nobody else deems him or his comment worthy. Enjoy their hatred, shows you’re awesome.Recommend

  • Maryam

    the movie was good agreed but i don think it deserved an Oscar, acting, casting everything was awesome but for the story lacked one thing the curiosity. we all knew they are gona make it easily. alteast there should have been one or other issue . but agreed if it was based on true story there was no choice.

    Also micheele obama has nothing to do with Oscars, if she really accepted the offer of announcing the award she should have come to the oscar stage istead of announcing it from the white house. Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    This is one of the most ludicrous commentaries ever!

    Americans make a movie on the killing on Osama, you have a problem. Americans make a movie on Iran, you have a problem. An American makes a movie on Islam, you have a problem.

    So the future trend here is, Americans will keep making movies and you will continue to have a problem with them.

    People wonder why Lahore went from being a Film Capital to importing Indian movies today. I think we have one of the answers.. Recommend

  • Fizza Rafique

    Not an issue to discuss! People all over the world watch oscars because they are mere a source of entertainment. And normally, viewers don’t care whoever gives away the award. Don’t complicate things, let them stay simple. There’s much complexity in everything already!Recommend

  • Sane

    @Fizza Rafique:

    Very naive comments. You need to understand what propaganda is and mediums through which it is propagated.Recommend

  • Hardliner

    And just when the blogs on Pakistan-related issues were turning out to be monotonous……. what else could have been better than to drag Oscars in a couch potato’s writings???Recommend

  • Zoon

    i do, for one. Also I would say that about blogs that deal with issues like ‘my parents don’t love me’ which fascinatingly get a lot of encouragement around here :/
    @Nadir: Recommend