The cast of Hidden Figures brought real-life NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson on stage during the Academy Awards.


The film was about the work of Johnson, along with two other incredibly skilled NASA workers in the 60s. Johnson, who was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film, was a “human computer” who helped develop the math to put John Glenn into orbit and return him safely to Earth.

“Movies about the lives of men and women in the history books have long been a staple of storytellers. Sometimes, the names and deeds are the heroes and their names are known to all,” said actress Janelle Monae. “And then there are those films that shine the spotlight on those whose names are known to only a few, but whose stories are deserved to be told,” added Octavia Spencer, who was up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.

“We were honored to be in an inspiring film about three such women,” said Henson, “whose brilliance made our nation’s achievements in space possible.”

Johnson, 98, was then wheeled out to center stage by NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle. “Thank you,” uttered Johnson before leaving the stage to a standing ovation.

Hidden Figures lost in all three categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture.


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