Former President Barack Obama on Friday added a twist to his annual favorites list this year, expanding his recommendations to recognize how viewing habits have changed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Obama explained that the list was influenced by the rise of streaming content available as movie theaters across the world have faced shutdowns.
“Like everyone else, we were stuck inside a lot this year, and with streaming further blurring the lines between theatrical movies and television features, I’ve expanded the list to include visual storytelling that I’ve enjoyed this year, regardless of format,” the former president tweeted.
Obama’s favorite movies included “Lovers Rock,” an installment from Steve McQueen’s anthology series “Small Axe,” which is streaming on Amazon Prime; George C. Wolfe’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which is streaming on Netflix; and Thomas Bezucha’s “Let Him Go,” which hit select theaters last month.
“Let Him Go” had the highest-earning box office weekend of any film released in over a month at that time. The movie theater industry continues to struggle as the pandemic keeps theaters closed or at reduced capacity.
Aside from films like “Let Him Go,” a number of new movies this year skipped theatrical releases altogether and hit streaming services instead.
With more streaming happening at home in 2020, Obama seemed to give more attention to TV shows than he did on previous lists.
He included projects like “Better Call Saul,” which is streaming on Netflix; “The Queen’s Gambit,” which is also streaming on the service; and “The Last Dance,” which premiered on ESPN and is now streaming on Netflix.
Last year, Obama shared his favorite books and movies of 2019, including only three TV shows ― he called it a “quick list” ― that he thought were as powerful as movies. Those shows were “Fleabag” Season 2, “Unbelievable” and “Watchmen.”
The former president on Thursday also shared his favorite books of 2020, which notably did not include his new memoir that he’s been promoting.
“I’ll start by sharing my favorite books this year, deliberately omitting what I think is a pretty good book ― A Promised Land ― by a certain 44th president,” he wrote