The Netflix film backed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company won Best Documentary Sunday night at the Oscars.
The film, American Factory, was backed by the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground. It tells the story of Chinese company’s purchase and repurposing of an American factory in Ohio.
Co-directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert did not thank the Obamas in their acceptance speech, but it was widely expected to win, thanks to their celebrity influence.
“We want to be in relationships with people and connect with them and work together with them,” Obama said in a promotional video about their decision to back the film.
Michelle Obama said that the story about American workers reminded her of her father.
“That was my background, that was my father and that was reflected in this film,” she said.
Barack Obama said he was impressed by the trust that the workers portrayed in the film trusted the directors.
“What I was struck by was they exhibited a lot more trust, that I would have expected,” he said.
Obama tweeted out his congratulations during the Oscars ceremony.
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
During her acceptance speech, one of the film’s directors, Julia Reichert, quoted Karl Marx’s famous maxim from his Communist Manifesto, “Workers of the world unite.”
“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.