Barack and Michelle Obama may be about to trade in their White House credentials for a stroll down the red carpet at the 2020 Academy Awards. That’s because the Obama documentary American Factory just received an Oscar nod on Monday, Jan. 13 for Best Documentary Feature. The project was the first film backed by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground, and centers around a Chinese billionaire who transforms a General Motors plant into an automotive glass factory, creating new blue collar jobs in a town of Ohio.
The film was produced by Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, and Jeff Reichert, all of whom Michelle Obama made a point of congratulating on Twitter shortly after the nomination was revealed. "So thrilled that Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar, and all of the incredible people behind #AmericanFactory are nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar! We’re so proud of them and amazed by their talent for storytelling," she wrote on her social media account. "See for yourself now [email protected]"
Barack Obama also chimed in on the celebrations, expressing his own joy regarding the project’s recognition. "Glad to see American Factory’s Oscar nod for Best Documentary," the former President of the United States wrote on Twitter. "It’s the kind of story we don’t see often enough and it’s exactly what Michelle and I hope to achieve with Higher Ground. Congrats to the incredible filmmakers and entire team!"
For their part, Reichert and Bognar are equally grateful for the platform the Obama production company has been able to give their work. "We’re deeply grateful to the amazing people at Participant Media, Higher Ground Productions and Netflix for elevating the stories of working class people," they told Entertainment Tonight in a joint statement. "The fate of working people around the globe is under great pressure and duress, and we hope American Factory can give voice to their journey."
This is just the first project to come out of a multiyear deal that the Obamas made with Netflix back in 2018, all of which will be created under Higher Ground Productions. Apart from American Factory, six other projects are said to be in various stages of development and are slated to get released over the next several years, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
That means this Oscar nod could just be the beginning of the accolades the Obama-backed production company ends up earning throughout the years. And while it’s unclear if the Obamas themselves will grace the Oscars red carpet on Sunday, Feb. 9, it’s definitely a possibility — and an exciting one at that.
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