During Sunday’s Academy Award’s telecast, First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance, handing out the award for best picture via satellite from the White House. However, the Iranian news agency Fars not only took exception to the honours bestowed on Ben Affleck’s film, which won the night’s biggest award, it offered a less-than-subtle critique of the First Lady’s dress.
Since Mrs Obama’s gown exposed her shoulders in a way that would violate the codes of modesty enforced in many Muslim nations, Fars photoshopped a picture of the First Lady, with the result offering significantly more coverage of her shoulders and chest.
The digital alteration was discovered by photojournalist and blogger Golnaz Esfandiari.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s Oscars ceremony scored the biggest TV audience in three years, and edgy new host Seth MacFarlane helped boost interest from young men, despite getting a mauling from TV critics.
Nielsen ratings data showed that 40.3m Americans watched the ceremony, up 3% from 2012, and the ABC network said it was the largest Oscars audience in three years.
The show grew 11% in the 18-49-year-old audience most coveted by advertisers, and by 34% in 18-34-year-old men compared to 2012.
After a night of zingers about gay people and Jews and risqué jokes about female nudity, the Family Guy creator largely lived up to his own prophecy that he could be deemed the worst host in Oscar history.
Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield said MacFarlane appeared like a “bumbling rookie” and “few ideas could have been stupider” than turning the Academy Awards into a “Seth MacFarlane variety special”.