Sunday was Hollywood’s biggest night: The Oscars. While people were celebrating Parasite’s much-deserved big win, the Obama family had their own win to celebrate.
In May, it was announced that Barack and Michelle Obama formed their own production company and inked a deal with Netflix to develop content for the streaming giant. Called Higher Ground Productions, the company has a number of diverse projects in the works.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people and helping them share their experiences with a wider audience,” Barack Obama said in a 2018 statement. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix—we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories.”
The company is already seeing huge success after Sunday’s big Oscar night. Higher Ground Productions received its first Oscar win for it’s documentary American Factory.
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. https://t.co/W4AZ68iWoY— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 10, 2020
Congrats to Julia, Steven, and the whole crew on winning Best Documentary for #AmericanFactory, 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. https://t.co/qtdNEw9H3f— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 10, 2020
Released in August, American Factory was directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar and focuses on what happened to a Dayton, Ohio community after a Chinese billionaire opened a new factory at the former General Motors plant. The documentary interviews the residents affected by the plant’s closing and focuses on how they picked themselves back up in the aftermath.
True to the documentary’s pro-worker message, director Julia Reichert referenced Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto in her acceptance speech:
“Working people have it harder and harder these days—and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite,” Reichert said.
Julia Reichert of "American Factory": "Working people have it harder and harder these days—and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite." https://t.co/8kz7m5vtnF #Oscars pic.twitter.com/tVGnWP7HBi— ABC News (@ABC) February 10, 2020
The exact quote, translated from German, states “Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!”
If Julia Reichert isn’t your favorite director already, she should be.
Julia Reichert is a hero.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) February 10, 2020
She is battling cancer and up on the stage fighting for the working class people. American Factory is an incredible documentary. Please see it on Netflix. #Oscars
The Obamas have also each won Grammy Awards for their audiobooks, Michelle for her memoir Becoming and Barack for both Dreams From My Father and The Audacity Of Hope.