While much of the world eagerly awaits the upcoming Oscar nominations, former president Barack Obama decided to give “breaking the internet” a go by releasing a list of his favourite movies (and a few TV shows) from 2019.
Obama tweeted the shortlist Sunday, quickly drawing online praise. His picks — which include the lauded ‘Apollo 11’, a documentary about the moon landing with archival and previously unreleased footage; ‘The Irishman,’ Martin Scorsese’s 3 1/2 hour mafia epic; and ‘Little Women,’ Greta Gerwig’s decidedly more feminist take on the classic tale — would fit well within any critic’s list.
‘American Factory,’ a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the workers in a former General Motors plant in a Dayton, Ohio, suburb during its transformation into a factory for the Chinese company Fuyao, also made the list. It was the first release by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, as he noted in his tweet.
Notably absent was Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood,’ a rumination on 1960s Hollywood set against the backdrop of the real-life Manson family murders (with a history-rewriting twist characteristic of the director). While that was the most celebrated movie to not appear on his list, Todd Phillips’s deeply divisive ‘Joker’ and Sam Mendes’s ‘1917,’ a First World War movie edited to have the appearance of being filmed in one take, were the two other notable Oscar contenders that didn’t make the cut.
His list of television shows was far more brief and more in line with popular critical thinking. It included just three shows: BBC’S ‘Fleabag’ (season 2), Netflix’s ‘Unbelievable’ and HBO’s ‘Watchmen.’