By Tyler Aquilina
February 09, 2020 at 10:30 PM EST
  • Movie

The Obamas may not have technically won Oscars on Sunday, but they got to live vicariously through American Factory directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, who took home the Best Documentary Feature award. The Netflix documentary was produced by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground, and the former president and first lady congratulated the filmmakers on Twitter.

Credit: Aude Guerrucci - Pool/Getty Images

“Congrats to Julia and Steven… for telling such a complex, moving story about the very human consequences of wrenching economic change,” Barack Obama wrote. “Glad to see two talented and downright good people take home the Oscar for 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,” Michelle Obama tweeted.

American Factory follows workers at a former GM plant in Dayton, Ohio, that has been taken over by a Chinese manufacturing company, and the culture clashes and struggles with the new management that ensue. As the Obamas noted, the documentary was the first release from the couple’s partnership with Netflix through Higher Ground.

Neither Bognar nor Reichert shouted out the Obamas on stage, but the latter used her acceptance speech to pay tribute to the working class. “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.

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American Factory

  • Movie
  • 115 minutes