Oscars Preview: 30 Movies to Watch Before the Nominations Come Out!

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Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Hidden Figures

What it’s about:

Hidden Figures recounts the true story of Katherine Johnson, an African-American physicist and mathematician who worked with NASA to help launch the first astronaut to go into orbit. Katherine, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson are three black female scientists who work in the segregated halls of NASA in the 1960’s. Initially, they are kept away from the important work on the basis of race and gender. But when NASA becomes desperate to win the Space Race, these women were called to work calculations to help the country traverse the final frontier.

Major Players:

Theodore Melfi directs and co-write the script with Allison Schroeder. Taraji P. Henson, who was nominated in 2009 for a Supporting Actress Oscar, plays Katherine Johnson. Octavia Spencer, the 2012 winner of the Supporting Actress category, plays Dorothy Vaughan. Janelle Monáe, who is primarily known as a musician, plays Mary Jackson.

What the Critics are Saying:

On Metacritic, Hidden Figures boasts a 73 out of 100, indicating “generally favorable reviews.” But on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie rates even higher at a 93%. Peter Debruge of Variety lauds the film as “empowerment cinema at its most populist, and one only wishes that the film had existed at the time it depicts.” Many critics have noticed its formulaic nature. But many have also claimed that the film succeeds in spite of it, like The Guardian’s Catherine Shoard, who describes the movie as “irresistibly uplifting.” Sheri Linden from The Hollywood Reporter notes its importance, calling it a “rallying cry for STEM girls everywhere.”

Possible Nominations:

Best Picture, Leading Actress (Henson), Supporting Actress (Spencer or Monáe), Best Adapted Screenplay (Melfi and Schroeder)