Barack Obama Wins Emmy for National Parks Series

by Chris Haney

On Saturday night, former president Barack Obama won his first Emmy Award for outstanding narration on the documentary series Our Great National Parks. The Netflix series is a five-part documentary that expands on his work with national parks during his two terms in office.

The 61-year-old and his wife, Michelle Obama, produced the series as part of an extensive deal with Netflix. The docuseries is an extension of his policies establishing and expanding protections for over 550 million acres of public lands and waters across our nation.

“When humanity started to protect these wild places, we did not realize how important they would become. They’re a haven for endangered species and a hotbed for scientific research,” Barack Obama says in the docuseries trailer.

During one portion of the documentary, Obama recalled how much national parks have meant to his family. While in office, the Obamas would take their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, to the parks to escape the confines of the White House. Their trips clearly made an impression as Obama shared his appreciation for our country’s public lands.

“We were so confined in the White House,” Barack said in a clip. “Every time we had one of these trips, and you suddenly could see reminders of what this planet has to offer and emotions that were stirred … I would always come back feeling different in a way that no other experiences gave me.”

Could Barack Obama Possibly Win an EGOT?

Our Great National Parks was nominated for outstanding narrator alongside several other famous names. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar received a nomination for his work on Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War. Historian and biologist David Attenborough lended his voice to The Mating Game. Plus, comedian and TV host W. Kamau Bell received a nomination for We Need to Talk About Cosby, and actress Lupita Nyong’o for Serengetti II.

This is the first time Barack Obama won an Emmy Award for his work on a TV series. However, it’s far from his first major award. Previously, the 44th U.S. president won two Grammy Awards. He first won in 2006 for best spoken word album when he narrated his audiobook, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In 2008, he took home the same award for The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

Michelle and Barack Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, won an Oscar in 2020. The company won Best Documentary Feature for American Factory, but Obama did not personally win the award. The former president is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, but he’s still two awards away from an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). Obama still needs an Academy Award and a Tony Award to complete the rare and coveted EGOT.