American Factory, the Netflix release backed by Barack and Michelle Obama, received an Academy Award nomination in the documentary feature category, making it the first time that a movie associated with the former first couple has been up for Hollywood’s highest honor.
Acquired by Netflix out of the Sundance Film Festival, American Factory tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who re-opens an abandoned General Motors plant in Ohio. The Obamas’ Higher Ground production company backed the movie, along with Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media.
The Oscar nominations were announced Monday morning from the Academy’s new museum, which is set to open later this year in Los Angeles.
Former President Barack Obama congratulated the movie on its nomination, saying the movie represents the kind of project “Michelle and I hope to achieve with Higher Ground.”
Glad to see American Factory’s Oscar nod for Best Documentary. It’s the kind of story we don’t see often enough and it’s exactly what Michelle and I hope to achieve with Higher Ground. Congrats to the incredible filmmakers and entire team!
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 13, 2020
Academy rules state that only a documentary’s director and producers may be nominated for the movie, which means that the Obamas won’t be accepting statuettes if the movie wins on Oscar night.
American Factory was among the first titles released under the Obamas’ highly touted production deal with Netflix. Former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice currently sits on Netflix’s board of directors.
American Factory will be up against four other documentaries: The Cave, The Edge of Democracy, For Sama, and Honeyland.
The Oscars ceremony is set to take place Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Dolby Theatre in L.A. Like last year, organizers have decided that no one will host the ceremony, which will air live on ABC.