Barack & Michelle Obama Didn't Get Oscar Though Their Netflix Documentary 'American Factory' Received the Award

"American Factory," a film backed by Barack and Michelle Obama's production company "Higher Ground," recently took home the Oscars for the best documentary feature. 

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama might not have attended the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood this year, but it doesn't mean that they don't have a reason to feel happy about the event. 

The former presidential couple's production company's Netflix film "American Factory" bagged the prestigious gold during the Oscars. However, the Obamas themselves didn't bag an award


The reason behind it is that the Obamas and their production company "Higher Ground" signed onto the documentary only after it was made. By then, it had debuted in the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. 

Since the award is designed to reward the ones who are mostly involved in the actual production of a film, the Obamas didn't win the award.

Barack Obama gives his wife Michelle a kiss as they close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019. | Source: Getty Images

Barack Obama gives his wife Michelle a kiss as they close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019. | Source: Getty Images

The Oscar's qualification of a primary producer includes being involved in finding talent, financing, making sure that the movie gets made, and so on.

This doesn't mean that the couple cannot win an Oscar in the future for films produced by their company but for that to happen, they would have to be more involved in the making of the films. 


Because the Obamas didn't attend the Oscars, they weren't seen on stage with the movie's producers during their acceptance of the prestigious award. 

"American Factory" is a film that revolves around the culture clash at an Ohio manufacturing plant at Dayton, Ohio. It documents the post-industrial landscape of the city where a Chinese billionaire opens a factory in an abandoned General Motors plant.
View this post on Instagram

Watching #AmericanFactory, I thought a lot about my dad. That blustery Midwestern weather, the shift workers in their uniforms—it’s what he lived every day. His work was his pride and his sense of purpose; it’s what allowed him to pay the bills and send his two kids to college. I saw a lot of that dignity in this film; a spirit that connects us no matter if we’re in Chicago or Ohio, no matter what we look like or what our background is. This documentary portrays that pride, and adds in all sorts of depth and layers and complications, which makes it exactly the kind of storytelling Barack and I hope to accomplish with Higher Ground Productions. We want to help foster an ability to see ourselves in each other’s stories. That’s something we talked about with Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, who directed American Factory, over coffee. See for yourself at the link in the bio and then check out their excellent documentary, which is now streaming on @Netflix.

A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

Besides winning an Oscar, the movie is also the winner of 18 different awards and 42 nominations. Barack congratulated the filmmakers Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar, and Jeff Reichert for their win through a tweet

"Glad to see two talented and downright good people take home the Oscar for Higher Ground’s first release."

Meanwhile, Michelle also sent out a tweet with her own set of congratulatory words. Back in 2018, Obamas' production company signed an exclusive deal with Netflix to produce fiction and non-fiction programming including TV series, films, and documentaries. 

The slate also includes shows for preschoolers like "Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents" by Erika Thormahlen and Jeremy Konner.  According to Michelle, she loves the slate because it consists of the stories that are relevant in people's daily lives. 

Related posts
Getty Images
People Oct 25, 2019
Barack Obama Spotted Having Dinner with Robert De Niro & Apple CEO Tim Cook after Signing Netflix Deal
Getty Images
Relationship Feb 10, 2020
Michelle Obama Flaunts Curves in Blue Suit & Mesh Heels While at Oprah's 2020 Vision Tour
Relationship Nov 28, 2019
Michelle Obama Posts Thanksgiving Message to Her Followers with Beautiful Family Photo of Barack, Malia and Sasha
Getty images
People Oct 28, 2019
Octavia Spencer of 'Hidden Figures' Gets Emotional about Inclusivity in Schools as She Receives GLSEN Respect Award