Best Motion Picture of the Year
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Octavia Spencer
Best Adapted Screenplay
And here we have our third film in my Oscar Series so far to be based on real life events. Hidden Figures explores the remarkable lives led by a group of three women, who soared within NASA to help America launch a man into space for the first time. Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson) were known as ‘human computers’ due to their unbelievable mathematical minds.
Despite the atrocious treatment of the women by their colleagues and the rest of the world, they show poise, dignity and complete and utter strength. They faced daily challenges in their place of work due to the colour of their skin.
This movie will leave you feeling ashamed to have not known about these three marvellous women before now (if you didn’t already.) Whilst the underlying themes surround racism, inequality and outright cruelty towards these women, the film is kept uplifted by the fantastic spirit of the main three leads portraying the original women. The soundtrack is mega too, which we have Pharrell to thank for that as he oversaw all musical elements of the film.
The three main leads were PERFECT for their roles and each of them gave solid performances. Most notably for me, was the performance given by Taraji P Henson. I actually think that it’s incredibly unfair that she wasn’t nominated for an award because her performance was just as compelling, perhaps even more so than Octavia Spencer’s. She has one scene which is so emotionally rattling it’s both heartbreaking and liberating all at once. It surrounds her confronting the inequality and poor treatment she receives in her NASA office. The scene is one of my favourites in the film and she deserves a nomination for that scene alone.
The moods of the film are perfectly developed with a cooler tones whilst the women are at work. Lots of grey and white tones are used throughout the scenes shot there. They contrast highly with the vibrancy and warmth of the exterior shots for example on their way to work and in their own homes.
The supporting cast help to raise the films standard to what it is. Mahershala Ali plays against Taraji P Henson as her love interest. It is both his, and Janelle Monaes second film to be up for awards at the 2017 Oscars, as they both star in Moonlight. It was unsurprising to see Jim Parsons cast as a super nerd working for NASA but it can be let slip. Other fantastic casting includes Kirsten Dunst who played her role so brilliantly I felt utter hatred towards her. I’m happy that she made the decision to pick up this part as I don’t think many would opt for it, but she worked really well outside of the usual characters she portrays. Kevin Costner is also a great supporting actor as he heads the office. Kevin Costner was originally unpleased with the character being offered to him. He thought it felt too much of a juxtaposition. One minute his character thought one thing then the next he acted differently. Kevin spoke with director Ted Melfi about this issue and didn’t think Ted would take his own ideas on board. Kevin discussed the issue with Vulture; ‘Well, it kind of reads like that. We can try to fix this, but it means we’re going to have to work on this. You’re about to go down to Atlanta and shoot, and the last thing you’re going to want to do after a long day is call me back in California and work on the supporting part, but that’s what it’s going to take for me to do it.’ Ted agreed to the editing of the role and voila!
Whilst the film is wonderfully enlightening with some stellar performances, I don’t think it’ll be enough to win the awards it’s nominated for, with the competition as hot as it is. Even so, it’s DEFINITELY worth a watch!
[all images belong to 20th Century Fox Film]