‘Hidden Figures’ could be an award-winner this year
February 22, 2017
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Based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, “Hidden Figures” tells a true story about how African American women contributed to John Glenn’s orbital rotation.
The film takes the audience back to 1960s Virginia, to a segregated way of life when racism and sexism went on daily in the workplace towards African American women living in the south.
“Hidden Figures” focuses on three women of color who are referred to as “computers” by NASA due to their brilliant minds. The main computer is Katherine Johnson, who is portrayed by Taraji P. Henson. The other two are Dorothy Vaughn, who is played by Octavia Spencer, and Mary Jackson, who is played by Janelle Monae.
Director Theodore Melfi couldn’t have picked better actors, the three of them have been nominated in the Screen actors guild award (SAG) as the best ensemble. The movie itself has been nominated as best picture in the Oscar’s award and Spencer was nominated as best supporting actress. Critics believe their chances of winning the SAG awards are pretty high and that it could affect the Oscar’s.
The beginning of the movie focuses on Johnson’s early life, when her mind-blowing intelligence was discovered. It then fast forwards to her adulthood where she is stuck on the side of the road with Vaughn and Jackson. By then the three of them are employed by NASA and work as computers. Due to their race they work in separate buildings and are given constant sass by their coworkers when they are seen. They try to work their way up like everyone else but are constantly rejected due to their gender and race.
From the start of the movie, NASA is in need of a mathematician who is quick with numbers, someone like Johnson. As they struggle with the calculations required, Johnson shows she’s more than capable of solving them and as expected is immediately put on the team by the director of the space task group, Al Harrison. There is no actual villain in this movie but it is made clear throughout the movie that Russia is an enemy and the prime competitor in the race for space.
Work and calculations for NASA isn’t all this movie is about. In order to keep it interesting, the movie also focuses on what is going on around their personal lives and the day to day racism faced by each of them.
Shetterly, who wrote the book, wasn’t too pleased with the way the movie turned out, claiming that it only focuses on three women and not the entire team who contributed. Overall, the movie was great. Henson, Spencer, and Monae all played their parts extremely well and today Johnson is the last living hidden figure and is over 90 years old.