While the Obamas weren't personally nominated, their production company Higher Ground Productions drove the project to its stellar success.
Is there anything the Obamas can't do? At the 92nd Academy Awards, the Obamas took home their first Oscar victory for their Netflix documentary American Factory, The Hill reports. The documentary was produced by the former Presidential couple's production company, Higher Ground Productions. Following the win, both Michelle and Barack Obama took to Twitter to congratulate the whole team for all their hard work and dedication to the project. American Factory is only one production of the multi-project deal that the Obamas signed with streaming giant Netflix. This monumental win perhaps signifies more production magic from the power couple!
The documentary was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category. In addition to American Factory, the Academy nominated The Edge of Democracy, For Sama, Honeyland, and The Cave. All the nominated documentaries this year featured a political implication, which, evidently, made the decision incredibly difficult. Nonetheless, American Factory successfully beat out its competition. The production is set in post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire establishes a new factory in the husk of an abandoned GM plant and employs 2,000 blue-collar Americans. The official Oscars synopsis reads, "Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America."
AMERICAN FACTORY tells an emotional, local story that resonates globally. Directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert have created a masterwork that examines culture, labor and class struggle, and challenges us to consider what unites us instead of what separates us. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/QOYpeXXfTA— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) February 10, 2020
While the Obamas were not present at the event to collect the award, filmmakers Steven Bognar, Julia Eichert, and Jeff Eichert were in attendance. They collected the prestigious award and thanked the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground, during their acceptance speech. Following the victory, former President Barack Obama took to Twitter to post a message of congratulations for the filmmakers. He stated, "Congrats to Julia and Steven, the filmmakers behind American Factory, for telling such a complex, moving story about the very human consequences of wrenching economic change. Glad to see two talented and downright good people take home the Oscar for Higher Ground’s first release."
Former First Lady and author of the bestselling memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama, too, posted a warm message on Twitter. She wrote, "Congrats to Julia, Steven, and the whole crew on winning Best Documentary for American Factory, Higher Ground's first release! So glad to see their heart and honesty recognized - because the best stories are rarely tidy or perfect. But that’s where the truth so often lies." The Obamas are now on their way to achieving EGOT status; both Barack and Michelle have previously won Grammy Awards for their various projects. Though the Obamas weren't personally nominated for the production of American Factory, Higher Ground's win is definitely a feather in their cap.