Barack Obama has released his favorite movies and TV shows of 2019, which includes some top awards contenders as well as his own production company’s “American Factory.”

While mostly dominated by dramas, the list also includes a few documentaries besides “American Factory,” like “Apollo 11” and “Amazing Grace,” the concert film of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” also made the cut, along with Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” and Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite.” A few more festival favorites like Mati Diop’s “Atlantics,” Jia Zhangke’s Palme d’Or nominee “Ash Is Purest White,” Colombian drug trade epic “Birds of Passage,” and German historical drama “Transit” also appear on the list. It seems Obama didn’t feel many notable comedies came out this year — or maybe it’s just a preference — as only Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart” and Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” could fall into that category.

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx’s legal drama “Just Mercy” also impressed the former president, along with Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” Joe Talbot’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and Kent Jones’ “Diane.” Racing drama “Ford v Ferrari” earned Obama’s recommendation, as well as Joanna Hogg’s Sundance world cinema grand jury winner “The Souvenir.”

As for Obama’s top television series, which he wrote he “considered as powerful as movies,” “Fleabag’s” lauded second season and Damon Lindelof’s critical darling “Watchmen” were both included, as well as Netflix’s miniseries “Unbelievable,” starring Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever.

For Obama’s top books of 2019, click here.

Obama’s framing of his favorite TV series, implying the medium is substandard compared to film, wound up the subject of backlash on Twitter.

See some choice responses below.


Others pointed out that “Fleabag’s” second seasons includes a scene in which the main character masturbates while watching a video of Obama giving a speech.