Tags: Barack Obama | Hollywood | michelle obama | oscar | documentary | nomination | factory

Obamas Land Oscar Nod for 'American Factory' Documentary

michelle and barack obama sharing a laugh
Michelle and Barack Obama (Getty Images)

Monday, 13 January 2020 06:32 PM

Barack and Michelle Obama's production company scored an Oscar nomination Monday for "American Factory," a documentary that chronicled what happened to workers when a Chinese billionaire purchased a manufacturing plant in the U.S. Midwest.

"American Factory" is the first release from Higher Ground Productions, a company the former U.S. president and first lady founded in 2018 as they unveiled a multiyear deal to supply programming to Netflix Inc. The film will compete for best documentary at the Academy Awards on Feb. 9.

"Oscar nominations came out today and I'm glad to see 'American Factory's' nod for Best Documentary," Obama wrote in an Instagram post. "I like this film for its nuanced, honest portrayal of the way a changing global economy plays out in real lives. It offers a window into people as they actually are and it's the kind of story we don't see often enough. This is exactly what Michelle and I hope to achieve through Higher Ground."

Michelle Obama also offered congratulations, via Twitter and Instagram, to filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar.

"What Julia and Steve capture on film is at times painful, at times exhilarating, but always thoughtful and always real — exactly the kind of story Barack and I wanted to lift up with Higher Ground Productions," the former first lady wrote on Instagram.

"American Factory" traces the lives of thousands of workers laid off from their auto jobs in Moraine, Ohio, in the 2008 recession, some of whom were hired six years later by Chinese company Fuyao Glass America to make automotive glass in the same plant.

When the documentary was released, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said the documentary failed to mention the role Obama played as president in the factory's closing.

"The Obama administration's auto bailout highly favored the UAW and its members; the GM plant in Moraine was unionized by the IUE-CWA," Turner wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "So — despite being one of the top GM facilities for quality, efficiency and production in the country — it was shuttered, and its employees were put at the back of the line when requesting transfers to other GM plants. Any non-UAW employees looking to transfer were forced to start as new hires, wiping clean any wages, tenure, and benefits built up during careers at other GM plants."

"American Factory" will compete against "The Cave," a documentary about genocide in Syria; "The Edge of Democracy" about the unraveling of two Brazilian presidencies, and others.

Newsmax writer Greg Richter contributed to this report.

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Barack and Michelle Obama's production company documentary "American Factory" scored an Oscar nomination Monday, chronicling what happened to workers when a Chinese billionaire purchased a manufacturing plant in the U.S. Midwest.
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Monday, 13 January 2020 06:32 PM
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