Whether he was breaking into an emotional rendition of “Amazing Grace” or bending over to let a five-year-old touch his hair, there’s no doubt that Barack Obama was the coolest president we’ll ever have. And while we know he has excellent taste in partners, every year Obama likes to remind us that his taste in film and TV is also impeccable. The former president has had much more time on his hands since leaving The White House, and he’s taken it upon himself to flex his cinephile leanings. This year he expanded his annual top ten list to include film and television, even including a diplomatically worded explanation about the changing nature of the industry.
“Like everyone else, we were stuck inside a lot this year, and with streaming further blurring the lines between theatrical movies and television features, I’ve expanded the list to include visual storytelling that I’ve enjoyed this year, regardless of format,” Obama tweeted.
Like everyone else, we were stuck inside a lot this year, and with streaming further blurring the lines between theatrical movies and television features, I’ve expanded the list to include visual storytelling that I’ve enjoyed this year, regardless of format. pic.twitter.com/a8BS8jDkSs
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 18, 2020
His list included one project from Higher Ground, the production company started by Barack and Michelle Obama in 2018. That was James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham’s “Crip Camp,” a moving documentary about a summer camp for teens with disabilities, which appeared with an asterisk lest he be accused of favoritism.
On the narrative side, Obama singled out Chloé Zhao’s Frances McDormand-starrer “Nomadland,” David Fincher’s “Mank,” and the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Venerated indie distributor Kino Lorber was quick to follow-up with a Tweet thanking the former President for choosing three of its films — “Beanpole,” “Bacurau,” and “Martin Eden” — all foreign-language features that have landed on many film critics’ top ten lists.
Obama’s TV picks are just as on point, with Michaela Coel’s groundbreaking “I May Destroy You” getting some much-deserved love. Obama also enjoys some old standbys like “Better Call Saul” and “The Good Place.” Unsurprisingly for a basketball fan, ESPN’s Michael Jordan docu-series “The Last Dance” also made the list.