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Obama Names His Top Films of 2023

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Dec 29, 2023

Former President Barack Obama released his annual list of favorite movies on Wednesday, highlighting 15 films that captured his attention over the past year. As a movie buff and film producer under his Higher Ground production company, Obama’s recommendations draw significant interest from both the film community and the wider public.

Movies Making the Cut

Several of the projects backed by Obama and wife Michelle’s Higher Ground production deal earned spots in the top 15, including A Man Called Otto, the Alex Garland-directed Civil War, and Descendant – a documentary detailing the discovery of the last known ship that illegally transported enslaved people to the US from Africa.

Other notable inclusions were Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, director Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, Chinonye Chukwu’s Emmett Till biopic Till, Korean romantic mystery film Decision To Leave, and the Daniels’ film Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Why Obama’s List Matters

As America’s first Black president, Obama possesses a powerful ability to shape the national conversation through his recommendations. For films covering issues like racial injustice and inequality, an endorsement from Obama often leads to increased Academy Awards buzz and box office success.

Following his selection of the Emmett Till film Till this year, director Chinonye Chukwu spoke of the “surreal honor” of Obama’s recognition. With awards season heating up, Chukwu and others are hoping the former president’s spotlight provides a needed boost for their projects.

Beyond advancing social narratives, Obama’s cachet can introduce niche and international titles to wider audiences. Last year’s list garnered attention for Japanese drama Drive My Car, which went on to win Best International Feature at the Oscars. Obama’s selection of cerebral sci-fi Everything Everywhere All At Once this round may similarly expand viewership.

Reactions and Speculation

Reactions to Obama’s 2023 slate echoed the usual mix of concurrence, debate, and some playful roasting of the former president’s “dadcore” tastes.

Fans expressed delight at seeing fan-favorite smash hits like Top Gun: Maverick and box office behemoth Avatar: The Way of Water make the Obama canon. However, some questioned his omission of other acclaimed 2022 films like RRR, Banshees of Inisherin, and The Woman King – suggesting Obama may have an unconscious bias for English-language or “Oscar-bait” type movies.

Others poked fun at Obama’s inclusion of both Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and director Michael Bay’s other 2023 release, Ambulance. “We always knew Michael Bay had a direct line to Obama’s cinematic sensibilities” quipped one Twitter commenter.

Nonetheless, most appreciated the eclectic mix, spanning blockbusters, indies, documentaries, and international cinema. As leading man Ryan Reynolds responded to Obama’s selection of Spirited, “My mom will be so happy.”

With Obama’s taste proving more multiplex than art house, the spotlighted films may see an uptick in viewers from the former president’s widespread following.

What’s Next for Higher Ground

On the production side, Higher Ground has over a dozen reported projects in the pipeline as the company cements its status as a top-tier producer.

Forthcoming titles include an adaptation of David W. Blight’s biography on Frederick Douglas, a sci-fi film titled Satellite, and YA series Firekeeper’s Daughter – not to mention undisclosed projects being plotted with Netflix and Audible.

With Higher Ground cementing its reputation in both the documentary and scripted realm, expect the company’s output to become a more regular fixture of Obama’s annual lists.

As the former president continues advancing social narratives and elevating cinema through his platform, his seal of approval stands poised to influence both awards chances and audience viewership for years to come.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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