"On Feb. 14, a Hollywood delegation showed up at the White House. Motion Picture Academy President Hawk Koch, Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and film mogul Harvey Weinstein had come to explore a rather important matter (for them): They wanted to see if they could secretly work out the details for Michelle Obama to present best picture at the Oscars 10 days later,‘ writes Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times.
According to the story, "The original thought was to have the first lady Michelle Obama attend the ceremony on Feb. 24 and sneak away from her seat as a surprise best picture presenter, but a White House dinner with the nation’s governors that night made travel impossible. Plans for a satellite presentation were put in place.
"Producers enacted a number of efforts to ensure secrecy. To reduce the risk of a leak, ABC News’ political bureau, rather than its entertainment division, was involved in the physical production. Producers and the first lady’s office also found a room that wouldn’t be needed all weekend, since technicians needed to begin set-up on Saturday. The Diplomatic Reception Room — a space that has enjoyed myriad uses over the years, including the site for FDR’s fireside chats — fit the bill.
"Zadan and Meron also kept all but the top executives out of the loop; Disney’s Robert Iger and Anne Sweeney were among the few not directly involved with the show who knew."
To read all the details about how the secret was kept and the logistics of how the presentation happened, click on the link above to the original article.