Barack Obama’s Favorite Movies of 2019 Includes Several Oscar Contenders

As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time for everyone to share what they felt were the year’s biggest highlights. For moviegoers, that means comparing notes on what were the best and most exciting films of the year. Of course, everyone — including filmmaker Quentin Tarantino — has a different opinion of what stood out. And now we know which films captured Barack Obama’s attention in 2019.

After all, when you’ve been the leader of the free world, there’s no escaping the spotlight. President Obama’s taste in cinema tends to include an eclectic mix of documentaries, blockbusters, and indie features. In 2018, his list included such films as Marvel epic Black Panther and indie drama The Rider. So we’re curious to learn what 2019 releases he most enjoyed.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama
Former U.S. President Barack Obama | Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barack Obama is sharing his 2019 favorites

As always, President Obama took to social media to share his picks for his favorite entertainment of the year. He already shared an extensive list of his favorite books as well as his favorite music of 2019. Obama even divided the former list into three separate sections, including “for sports fans” and previous recommendations.

As for music, Obama’s selections run the gamut from mainstream choices like 2019 breakout Lizzo to more obscure tracks. In his post, he includes several songs also present on his summer playlist revealed earlier in the year. Clearly, Obama enjoys fostering his interest in the arts. So what movies did he most enjoy in 2019? Well, let’s get to it.

His taste in movies features some big awards contenders

As it turns out, President Obama included no less than 18 movies on the alphabetically listed rundown of his favorites. Naturally, that includes documentary American Factory, the first film produced and distributed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s own Higher Ground Productions. That disclaimer aside, Obama’s picks offer the diverse selections we’ve come to expect.

Although no out-and-out blockbuster films made his list, Obama did include several heavily talked-about releases. In particular, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman made the cut, as did fellow Oscar frontrunners Marriage Story, Little Women, and Parasite. Ford v Ferrari is perhaps the biggest theatrical hit on Obama’s list, which also includes comedies like Booksmart and The Farewell.

Foreign-language films have a major presence on his list this year. Parasite, Ash Is Purest White, Atlantics, Birds of Passage, and Transit are all internationally made releases. Likewise, indie films like The Souvenir, Diane, and The Last Black Man in San Francisco made a big impression on the former president.

Barack Obama’s TV picks

In addition to his picks for his favorite movies, President Obama shared the television shows he loved most this year. In this regard too, he pinpointed some of the most lauded programs to debut in 2019.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s second and final season of BBC and Amazon series Fleabag was one of only three TV highlights Obama shared. That show was one of the biggest winners at the 2019 Emmy Awards. Fleabag Season 2 won a total of six awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Lead Actress.

HBO’s much-anticipated Watchmen series also appears on Obama’s list. Despite initial skepticism, the show — which continues the story of the beloved graphic novel — was a critical darling. At this point, there’s no telling if it will get a second season, but we’ll bet HBO wants it.

Finally, the Netflix miniseries Unbelievable starring Toni Collette made it on Obama’s list. The eight-episode story follows a series of real-life rape cases that took place in Washington and Colorado between 2008 and 2011.