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Hidden Figures star Taraji P. Henson brought the real-life Katherine Johnson out on the Oscars stage on Sunday night while presenting the award for best documentary feature with fellow castmembers Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae.
Henson plays the role of Johnson in Hidden Figures, which is nominated for three Oscars including best picture.
Johnson was a physicist and mathematician at NASA who calculated trajectories, launch windows and the return paths for many famous space flights in the 1950s and ‘60s. Her background includes such projects as Project Mercury (the first manned space flight), 1969’s Apollo 11 (first flight to the moon) and the Space Shuttle program (plans for a mission to Mars). During her time at NASA, she worked under segregated conditions as a “computer” before being named aerospace technologist. She retired in 1986.
Johnson, who is now 98 and lives in Virginia, received a standing ovation on Sunday night before saying, simply, “Thank you.”
Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 89th annual Academy Awards on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.
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