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Barack Obama’s Favorite Movies of 2023: ‘Rustin,’ ‘Air,’ ‘Past Lives’

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Barack Obama has revealed his favorite movies of the year, an annual tradition from the former President of the United States. The first three films on the list — “Rustin,” “Leave the World Behind” and “American Symphony” — were produced by his company Higher Ground, which he founded alongside his wife Michelle.

“I’m biased since these movies were produced by Higher Ground, but these are in fact three of the best films I saw this year,” Obama wrote.

“Rustin” stars Colman Domingo as the overlooked civil rights activist Bayard Rustin; “Leave the World Behind” stars Ethan Hawke, Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali in a mysterious apocalypse story; and “American Symphony” follows the journey of musician Jon Batiste and his life partner Suleika Jaouad as he endeavors to compose a symphony and she learns her cancer has returned.

In a post on X/Twitter, Obama further contextualized his list and acknowledged the two strikes that shaped the entertainment industry in 2023, writing, “Earlier this year, writers and actors went on strike to advocate for better working conditions and protections. It led to important changes that will transform the industry for the better. Here are some films that reflect their hard work over the last year — including some like ‘Rustin’, ‘American Symphony,’ and ‘Leave the World Behind’ that we were proud to release through @HGMedia. What films did I miss?”

In addition to the projects he personally backed, Obama also listed “The Holdovers,” “Blackberry,” “Oppenheimer,” “American Fiction,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Monster,” “Past Lives,” “Air,” “Polite Society” and “A Thousand and One” as his favorite films of 2023.

The list includes independent darlings (“Past Lives” and “A Thousand and One”) as well as international films (“Anatomy of a Fall” and “Monster”) and Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster historical drama “Oppenheimer.”

Last year, Obama’s favorites included “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “Aftersun.”

See Obama’s X/Twitter post below.



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