Directed by Theodore Melfi and based off a true story, “Hidden Figures” tells the story of three African-American NASA engineers, Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Jenson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), who help coordinate John Glenn’s (Glen Powell) space orbit.
The cast is great and the direction is steady and sturdy. It is great to see Hollywood tackle not just the concept of strong women, but also the concept of smart women. The well-written script bursts with clever quips and strong characters.
The problem is that the film is primarily focused on message over story. The struggle of the women against a white chauvinist world prevents the film from being anything other than a simple morality tale: Racism bad, perseverance good. It’s not very deep and doesn’t really offer anything other than surface level viewing, not really sticking with the viewer nor offering new thought-provoking ideas about class, sexism or racism.
So while “Hidden Figures” wears it’s heart on its sleeve and is a solid work, it really is just a retread of a very similar theme we’ve heard before. It doesn’t really offer anything other than an anecdote, but its message is timeless.
- Hidden Figures
- Going for the upset here. I’m thinking politics will ultimately win out over heart.
- Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
- He’s won the DGA. That usually leads to success.
- Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea”
- Denzel has already won, and that might be enough for Affleck to sneak a win.
- Emma Stone, “La La Land”
- She’s won everything. This is the easiest category of the night.
Best Supporting Actor
- Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
- He’s won the SAG and is the favorite.
Best Supporting Actress
- Viola Davis, “Fences”
- She also won the SAG and has no real competition.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- Any of the nominees could realistically win. “Moonlight” might win by a hair.
Best Original Screenplay
- Manchester by the Sea
- It’s seen as a writer’s film, but watch out for La La Land if it sweeps.
Best Animated Film
- Kubo and the Two Strings
- “Zootopia” should put up a fight, but the beauty of the animation of “Kubo” might sway the voters.
Best Costume Design
- Alternative: Florence Foster Jenkins
- OJ: Made in America
- Alternative: I Am Not Your Negro
Best Documentary Short Subject
- The White Helmets
- Alternative: Watani: My Homeland
Best Foreign Language Film
- The Salesman
- Alternative: Toni Erdmann
- Star Trek Beyond
- Alternative: A Man Called Ove
Best Original Score
Best Original Song
- “City of Stars”, from “La La Land”
- Alternative: “How Far I’ll Go”, from “Moana”
Best Production Design
Best Animated Short Film
Best Live Action Short
- Alternative: La Femme et le TVG
Best Sound Editing
- Alternative: Hacksaw Ridge
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects
- The Jungle Book
- Alternative: Doctor Strange