As Nate Parker's Birth of a Nation faces sudden backlash because of a dark situation in his past, other movies centered on the African-American experience are getting a chance to possibly move up in the eyes of Oscars voters. One is Jeff Nichols' Loving, which has already released an excellent trailer. The next one that looks like a definite contender is Hidden Figures, Ted Melfi's drama about three brilliant African-American women who played a major part in one of NASA's most crucial missions.
Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae star as mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson who overcame racial prejudice and gender bias to aid in NASA's 1962 Friendship 7 mission that made astronaut John Glenn the first American to ever orbit the Earth. This is the kind of uplifting story that audiences and voters tend to gravitate to, and I won't be surprised if this gets a ton of attention in the coming months.
Also starring Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Mahershala Ali, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, and Aldis Hodge, Hidden Figures opens January 13th 2017.