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Oscars selfie 'surprise for everyone', insists Samsung

Published on Mar 6, 2014 2:33 AM
An image posted by Oscars show host Ellen DeGeneres on her Twitter account shows movie stars, including Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep (bottom row left to third left), Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o, Angelina Jolie (top row) and Bradley Cooper (bottom row, second right), as well as Nyong'o's brother Peter (bottom row, right), posing for a picture taken by Cooper at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on March 2, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Samsung says the Oscars selfie that went viral was a "surprise for everyone", after reports it was part of a pre-planned marketing stunt by the company, a sponsor of the Academy Awards.

But the South Korean tech giant, which earned huge publicity when Ellen DeGeneres used a Samsung device to take the photo, said it would donate US$3 million (S$3.8 million) to charities of the Oscar host's choice.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the stunt "wasn't entirely unplanned", saying that a Samsung smartphone was used in the show as part of a sponsorship and US$20 million advertising deal with Oscar broadcasters ABC.

During rehearsals Samsung executives trained Ms DeGeneres in how to use the Samsung Galaxy, it reported. Other media noted that, while the host used the Samsung device for the viral selfie, she used her own iPhone to tweet other posts from backstage.

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