Barack Obama's 2021 Favorites Include Kirsten Dunst and Ben Affleck Dramas, Plus Songs by Lil Nas X and Lizzo

The former president returns to his annual tradition of listing his favorite films, books and music on social media as the year ends

President Barack Obama
Photo: Vincent Thian/AP/Shutterstock

It's a year-end tradition!

Former President Barack Obama is sharing his favorite books, movies and music of the year on his social media channels once again. (And he's got taste!)

"Art always sustains and nourishes the soul. But for me, music and storytelling felt especially urgent during this pandemic year — a way to connect even when we were cooped up," Obama, 70, wrote on Instagram Wednesday to kick off his 2021 list of recommendations.

Starting with books, Obama listed 13 titles and reminded followers of 11 others he recommended earlier in the year.

A work of historical fiction, Matrix by Lauren Groff, made the cut along with Jonathan Franzen's Crossroads, Qian Julie Wang's memoir Beautiful Country, The Lincoln Highway by Amor Tales and others he said "left a lasting impression."

The former president is an avid reader, movie and music and clearly hopes to keep up with his hobbies over the holidays.

"Since these are works I have actually listened to, watched, or read, I'm sure I've missed some worthy stuff," he said on Instagram. "So if you have your own recommendations to share, I'll add them to the stack of books and movies I hope to catch up on over the holidays!"

Next up were Obama's favorite movies of the year. "Each of these films tells a powerful story, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did," he said Thursday of a list that includes 14 titles.

Stephen Spielberg's critically adored remake of West Side Story, Kirsten Dunst's praised performance in the western The Power of the Dog, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's medieval drama The Last Duel, Pig starring Nicolas Cage, the Norwegian film The Worst Person in the World, the adaptation of a Haruki Murakami's short story Drive My Car and The Card Counter starring Tiffany Haddish and Oscar Isaac are the nominees for best picture, according to the former president.

Obama's music list debuted on Friday, featuring "Rumors" by Lizzo ft. Cardi B, "Broken Horses" by Brandi Carlile and "Montero" by Lil Nas X.

Also on the list were some Latin music favorites, including Aventura and Bad Bunny's collaboration "Volví" and club hit "Pepas" by Farruko.

"Spit out my spiked coffee ☕️ 🥃 I am THRILLED that @BarackObama is listening to broken horses AND so many of my buddies!!" tweeted Carlile. "Love y'all - Thank you for this and so much more @BarackObama."

And Lizzo reacted too, writing, "Like I was saying… there's amazing music that isn't viral, that isn't charting, that don't have a TikTok trend… My music touches people— don't believe me, ask Obama 😘❤️ Artists don't be discouraged— make the music YOU love and believe in and the rest will follow!"

Dominican-Italian singer Yendry also shared her excitement about her inclusion, saying she didn't "get any support" for the song, until now.

"@BarackObama included it on his list of favorite songs of 2021.. Thanks for the support bro .. Maybe you can join the next label strategy meeting!😏," she wrote.

About his selections this year, the former president wrote, "I've always enjoyed listening to a wide variety of music, so it's no surprise that I listened to a little bit of everything this year. I hope you find a new artist or song to add to your own playlist."

Other notable artists on the list included Nas, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Courtney Barnett and Isaiah Rashad.

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