Published: Wed, March 01, 2017
Science | By Kerry Wheeler

'Hidden Figures' stars honor NASA physicist Katherine Johnson on Oscars stage

'Hidden Figures' stars honor NASA physicist Katherine Johnson on Oscars stage

One of the women featured in the film Hidden Figures was honored on stage during the 89th Academy Awards.

The beauty of Hidden Figures is the spotlight that it puts on the real life women of color who poured their time and intelligence into NASA who have previously been ignored, and they drove that message home by bringing Katherine Johnson, the former NASA mathematician that Henson portrayed in the film, up on stage.

Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer took to the Oscar stage to introduce the nominees for Best Documentary Feature, but before they opened the envelope and announced the victor, they shined the spotlight on famed scientist Katherine Johnson, who Henson plays in the film.

Although the movie she and her colleagues inspired failed to take the top prize, Johnson's appearance on stage was something NASA was particularly proud of. Sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in those films are known to all.

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Johnson, portrayed in the movie "Hidden Figures" by Taraji P Henson, worked for NASA as a research mathematician for more than 30 years, according to the United States space agency's website.

Johnson calculated many space flight trajectories, including early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program.

The 98-year-old smiled as she said to the audience, "Thank you very much", proving herself to be more concise than most Academy Award winners.

"It was all in a day's work", Johnson said.

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