John / January 24th, 2017

The “Hidden Figures” train keeps chugging along as the film picked up three Oscar nominations Tuesday morning, including Best Picture.

Based on the book of the same name by Hampton native Margot Lee Shetterly, the story centers on three African-American women working at NASA Langley facility during the space race in the 1960s.

On Tuesday morning Shetterly, who has an executive producer credit for the film, was alone in a hotel room in Michigan, but her phone was lighting up from a stream of congratulatory messages.

“I set my alarm so I wouldn’t miss the nominations,” she said. “It’s just so exciting and thrilling.”

The movie centers on Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae). Spencer picked up one of the film’s nominations, for Best Supporting Actress. She previously won in that category for “The Help.”

Shetterly was particularly excited about Spencer’s nomination.

“Dorothy Vaughan is somebody who had been completely forgotten. Her achievements weren’t well known,” she said. “Dorothy Vaughan is going to go down in the history book with the rest of these women.”

The Hampton Convention and Visitor Bureau is contemplating how it can highlight the womens’ successes, too. Ryan Downey, director of media and community relations, mentioned the possibility of a “Hidden Figures” tour around the Peninsula.

“It’s really bringing Hampton’s diversity, postivie places of the city and space program to life,” Downey said. “It’s great publicity for the city.”

The film’s final nomination was for Adapted Screenplay, which went to Allison Schroeder and director Theodore Melfi. Of the 10 screenplay nominations given to films this year, Schroeder is the only female nominee.

Musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams also picked up a nomination in the Best Picture race. He served as a producer for “Hidden Figures.”

Jonathan Black, dailypress.com

This is fantastic news.



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