As you know if you've listened to my podcast or if you've just been paying attention, The Birth of a Nation was never going to be alone as the only Oscar contender telling an African-American story. This year is turning out be even better than 2014 in that regard with Fences, Moonlight, and Loving making noise this awards season. And yet there's still one more that is expected to be a major player and it's the Taraji P. Henson-led biopic Hidden Figures, which has just been given a huge boost by 20th Century Fox.
Fox has set the Ted Melfi-directed film for a limited run on Christmas Day, with a wider release coming on January 6th 2017. That's the typical release pattern for likely Oscars contenders, and clearly Fox thinks they have something great in the film which centers on physicist Katherine Johnson, space scientist Dorothy Vaughan, and mathematician Mary Jackson. These three black women were pioneers in their respective fields and helped NASA take the lead in the space race with the 1969 Apollo moon landing. Henson stars alongside Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Mahershala Ali, Jim Parsons, and Aldis Hodge.
My gut still tells me Loving will be the movie that ultimately emerges out of this group, but I'm genuinely excited to see how this all shakes out. Lots of strong contenders here.