Hidden Figures is out of this world


Photo courtesy of Hidden Figures Official website

Lauren Girgis, Staff Writer/A&E Editor

Hidden Figures is an empowering drama about three African-American women working at NASA to overcome discrimination.

    Set in 1960s segregated America, three women, Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson(Janelle Monae), work behind one of the most difficult tasks in the Space Race-sending astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

    Henson and Spencer’s stellar performances and the film’s ability to combine a tale of discrimination with a major scientific achievement propel the movie to stardom.

     Hidden Figures was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year at the Oscars and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Octavia Spencer at the Oscars and Golden Globes, among other nominations. The film has received a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 74 percent on Metacritic, scores usually reserved for award-winning motion pictures.

    Historical films about intelligent minds usually are not known for their diversity. It is the true tale of these three bright, black women, that sets Hidden Figures apart.

    Katherine is assigned to the task group that has the mission of sending John Glenn into orbit and finds that she is the only black face in the room. Katherine was responsible for calculating and confirming the trajectory of John Glenn’s 1962 orbit around the earth. Now 98 years old, Katherine has finally received recognition, getting a standing ovation from audience members at the Oscars while presenting Best Documentary.

    Dorothy fights for a long overdue promotion to the position of supervisor and higher pay, and Mary struggles to become NASA’s first black, female engineer.

    The gender and racial discrimination brought up in the film strikes a chord with all audiences who have ever felt discrimination in the workplace today. Equal pay is still something women have not been able to achieve, and a 2015 study by the University of California found that 100 percent of women of color in STEM fields have experienced some form of bias.

    These women’s contributions to the Space Race, as well as other African-American women who worked at NASA, became largely unacknowledged as their stories were buried in history. Since these women worked behind the scenes, their acts were overshadowed by their white, male counterparts.

    As women and people of color have begun to fight back and further recognition has been awarded to the men and women fighting for their  rights, the timing of the film’s release was perfect as these movements have been brought center-stage.

    The incredible actors and inspiring storyline of Hidden Figures make it a feel-good film appealing to all audiences that is still relevant today. The film’s relevance and the way it resonates with audiences makes it deserving of recognition from the Academy beyond just a nomination.