Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov had the unique honor hearing the name of their movie, Argo, announced as Best Picture by First Lady Michelle Obama. Ben Affleck said of the experience, “I was sort of hallucinating when that was happening. In the course of a hallucination it doesn’t seem that odd: `Oh look, a purple elephant. Oh look, Michelle Obama.'”
As surprising as Michelle Obama’s appearance at the Academy Awards was, it wasn’t the first time a First Lady ventured has into Hollywood territory.
In 1962, Jackie Kennedy gave a tour of the newly renovated White House for CBS Television, which proved to be wildly popular and culturally significant. For the telecast Jackie Kennedy received an Emmy, but her camera shyness prevented her from attending the ceremony. Future First Lady and wife of the Vice President, Lady Bird Johnson, accepted the Emmy on Kennedy’s behalf.
The Kennedy White House was notorious for its association with Hollywood. Here Jackie Kennedy is seen with Frank Sinatra, who helped JFK’s campaign and continued to be an ally throughout his administration.
Having started out as a model and a dancer, Betty Ford looked to be on her way to a Hollywood life, but marrying future president Gerald Ford threw her into the political world.
After leaving the White House, Betty Ford established a substance abuse recovery clinic called the Betty Ford Center, which quickly proved to be a Hollywood-friendly place.
Nancy Reagan’s connection to Hollywood could not be more obvious. Her pre-White House years were spent working as an actress, with a contract at film studio MGM. Before marrying Ronald Reagan, she dated such Hollywood hunks as Clark Gable and Peter Lawford. Ronald Reagan, of course, was an actor himself and once served as President of the Screen Actor’s Guild. She was even friendly with Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, and released a statement eulogizing the star.
Hillary Clinton made history by posing for the December 1998 cover of Vogue, a space usually reserved for high-fashion models and movie stars. No other First Lady had posed for the Vogue cover before Clinton did, so she paved the way for Michelle Obama, who is rumored to be working on her second Vogue cover.
Michelle Obama’s Oscars appearance is her latest instance of hobnobbing with Hollywood. A few days before the Academy Awards, she goofed around with Jimmy Fallon in the “Evolution of Mom Dancing” video.