Hidden Figures

Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), flanked by fellow mathematicians Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) meet the man they helped send into orbit, John Glenn (Glen Powell). (Hopper Stone Photo)

*”Hidden Fences” director Ted Melfi believes Taraji’s demanding “Empire” schedule… where she works 17-hour days, may have contributed to her Oscar snub because she couldn’t commit to the awards campaign season.

“Taraji is on a series… She’s working her butt off on her show constantly. She’s done everything she possibly can to support [the film]. She’s amazing. But at the end of the day, she has a full-time job.”

Henson will not be up for an Oscar at this Sunday’s ceremony, but Melfi believes her work speaks for itself.

“I think her work in ‘Hidden Figures’ is stunning, and groundbreaking,” Melfi says.

“Anyone who could watch her on ‘Empire’ as Cookie and then see her in [’Hidden Figures’] and not think she’s one of the greatest actresses around ― I just don’t understand that.”

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hidden figures

“Hidden Figures” is a biographical drama based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. It centers on female African-American mathematicians at NASA, and stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. The film also features Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell and Mahershala Ali have supporting roles.

The film has been nominated for numerous awards, including three Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Spencer, and two Golden Globes, Best Supporting Actress (Spencer) and Best Original Score. It won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

The 89th Academy Awards air tonight (February 26) on ABC at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific.