As the year winds down, former President Barack Obama has continued his tradition of sharing his personal pop culture picks, this time with his favorite films of 2023. The roundup, which he posted on a social media platform, not only gives us insight into Obama’s taste in cinema but also shines a light on the tumultuous year Hollywood has faced.

Barrack Obama's favorite films of 2023

The list kicks off with a poignant acknowledgment of the writers and actors strikes that rocked the industry earlier this year. Obama commends the courage of those who stood up for better working conditions and protections, a move he believes will herald transformative change in the entertainment world.

There’s a hint of personal pride in his selection — and rightly so. Three films at the top of his list come from Higher Ground Productions, the company he and Michelle Obama founded in 2018. Obama admits to his bias but stands by the quality of these films.

First on the list is “Rustin”, a biopic that delves into the heart of civil rights activism. It’s followed by the ensemble masterpiece “Leave the World Behind”, which features a constellation of stars including Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la, and Kevin Bacon. Rounding out the top three is “American Symphony”, a documentary that offers an intimate look at the life of musician Jon Batiste and his life partner Suleika Jaouad.

But the cinematic journey doesn’t end there. Obama’s list also nods to the explosive “Oppenheimer” by Christopher Nolan, starring Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt, and Ben Affleck’s directorial venture “Air”, which brings to screen the origin story of Air Jordan sneakers.

The eclectic mix of Obama’s 2023 film favorites speaks volumes about his varied interests and the rich tapestry of storytelling that cinema offers. From historical biopics to documentaries and stories that have shaped popular culture, his choices reflect a keen eye for both artistry and narrative power.

Barack Obama’s list of favorite movies for 2023

  • Rustin – A civil rights themed biopic
  • Leave the World Behind – A star-studded film featuring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la, and Kevin Bacon
  • American Symphony – A biographical documentary of musician Jon Batiste and his life partner Suleika Jaouad

Other favorite movies include:

  • The Holdovers
  • Blackberry
  • Oppenheimer
  • American Fiction
  • Anatomy of a Fall
  • Monster
  • Past Lives
  • Air
  • Polite Society
  • A Thousand and One