As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, the title Hidden Figures doesn’t exactly go zing. Brainy mathematicians, Florida sunshine, soul music, Kevin Costner, clever quips, a little romance. Celebrate and salute, but I can see the scheme of this thing from a mile away.
The leads are Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe. I love that House of Cards and Moonlight costar Mahershala Ali is costarring.
Set in the early ’60s and based on a forthcoming non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly, the film recounts the tale of three African-American women — mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and colleague Mary Jackson — who helped NASA “catch up in the space race.”
Cotner plays the head of NASA who (just guessing here) initially fails to recognize their brilliant calculations but begrudgingly comes to recognize their value to the space program, particularly after they help out big-time with John Glenn’s 1962 orbital flight. Or something like that.
Hidden Figures will be given a limited platform release sometime in December to qualify for awards consideration. This will provide yet another opportunity for guild and Academy members to “get their black on,” as a friend puts it.