Oscar-Nominated Civil Rights Docudrama Released on DVD

 

Hidden Figures,  DVD Review by Kam Williams, NASA, African-American, female mathematicians, Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle MonaeHidden Figures

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Oscar-Nominated Civil Rights Docudrama Released on DVD 

All of the astronauts picked by NASA to participate in its maiden manned space programs, Mercury and Gemini, were white males. However, behind the scenes, there was a dedicated team of African-American, female mathematicians who played a pivotal role in ensuring that they launched and returned safely, whether from orbiting the Earth or a mission to the moon. 

  Equipped only with pencils and slide rules, these so-called “human computers” were among the best and the brightest minds recruited by NASA to do the critical calculations needed to win the space race with Russia. Author Margot Lee Shetterly gave these unsung heroines their due in “Hidden Figures,” a best seller belatedly crediting their quantitative contributions to the cause.

Besides chronicling their considerable accomplishments, the book also recounted the indignities these brilliant black women simultaneously suffered, simply because they had the misfortune to be living in Virginia during the dark days of Jim Crow. Back then, African-American brainiacs employed by NASA were automatically assigned to work in its segregated West Computing Group.

Directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent), the overlooked icons’ story has now been adapted to the big screen as an uplifting, overcoming-the-odds docudrama. Nominated for a trio of Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer) The picture recounts the trials and tribulations of three members of the aforementioned West Computing Group: Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae).

We are flies on the wall when, without complaining, Katherine routinely has to run to a distant “Colored” ladies room despite the presence of one for whites right nearby. On another occasion, we witness Mary’s frustration in furthering her education on account of the fact that blacks aren’t allowed to matriculate at the local college offering the courses she needs.

By film’s end, both the bathroom and school are indeed integrated, albeit after an emotional intervention by NASA administrator Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). A worthwhile, teachable moment correcting a shameful chapter in American history.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG for mature themes and mild epithets

Running time: 127 minutes

Distributor: Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: It All Adds Up – The Making of Hidden Figures;  Audio Commentary by director Theodore Melfi and Taraji P. Henson; deleted scenes; Hidden Figures: Filming in Georgia; and a stills gallery.

To order a copy of Hidden Figures on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01LTI1RHQ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Original Source:  GIG News

AFRICAN AMERICAN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION (AAFCA) HONORED MOONLIGHT AS THE TOP FILM OF HISTORIC 2016 & QUEEN SUGAR AWARDED AS THE TOP TV SHOW

 

AFRICAN AMERICAN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION (AAFCA) HONORED MOONLIGHT AS THE TOP FILM OF HISTORIC 2016 
QUEEN SUGAR AWARDED AS THE TOP TV SHOW

 

Denzel Washington, Ruth Negga, Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis Received Acting Wins from the Nation’s Premiere Black Critics Group

 

Ava DuVarney’s 13th and Beyonce’s Lemonade also take key honors

 

Sidney Poitier Received Lifetime Achievment Award (Sandra Kramer accepted on his behalf)

 

AWARDS GALA WILL TOOK PLACE AT THE TAGLYAN COMPLEX IN LOS ANGELES LAST NIGHT!

 

LOS ANGELES (February 9, 2016) – Movies, documentaries and TV shows about the black experience were in abundance in 2016 making it a truly historic year in terms of the number of movies, documentaries and TV shows released and number of blacks represented in front and behind the camera.

 

AAFCA held its 8th annual awards ceremony on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.  

 

Those in attendance included host Nischelle Turner, Janelle Monae (Breakout Star Award Recipient), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight Director) Lee Daniels (Vanguard Award Recipient), John Singleton, Queen Sugar Cast (Dawn Lyen-Gardner, Timon Kyle Durrett, Omar J. Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dondre Whitfield), Sanaa Lathan (Shots Fired), Alano Miller (Underground), DeWanda Wise (Shots Fired), director Anthony Hemingway (Underground Director), Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jovan Adepo (Fences), Joe Morton (Scandal), Tommy Davidson, Anna Marie Horsford, Demetrius Shipp Jr. (All Eyez On Me), Laz Alonso, Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game), Aisha Hinds (Underground), Misha Green (Underground Creator), Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Eva Marcille, Rhyon Nicole (Surviving Compton), Marcus Scribner (Black-ish), Kendrick Sampson (How To Get Away With Murder), Neil Brown Jr. (Insecure), Lou Diamond Phillips, Karen Sharpe, Kat Kramer (Miss Golden Globe) and more.

 

Janelle Monae
(Credit: Sheri Determan)

 

 

L-R: Janelle Monae, Barry Jenkins
(Credit: Sheri Determan)

 

 

 

Cast of ‘Queen Sugar’
L-R: Omar J. Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Timon Kyle Durrett, Dondre Whitfield
(Credit: Sheri Determan)

 

Lee Daniels
(Credit: Sheri Determan)

 

 

“Our members had a plethora of outstanding movies, documentaries and TV shows to choose from this year,” says AAFCA Co-founder Shawn Edwards. “It was an exceptional year in terms of the quantity and quality of films about the black experience. And while this by no means solves the diversity issue in the film industry it was definitely refreshing to have such a wide-range of exceptional work to choose from to honor and celebrate with our approval.”

 

There were several movies released last year that are considered masterpieces. However, it was “Moonlight” that dominated this year’s voting for the 8th AAFCA Awards. The independent film which chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami completely resonated with the majority of the members of the association. The A24 Pictures film earned multiple awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor. Awards were also given to singer/actress Janelle Monae for Best Breakout Performance. She delivered star-making performances this year in both “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures.” The top acting honors went to Denzel Washington and Ruth Negga for their roles in Fences and Loving.

 

 

“2016 provided our membership with many great films to choose from,” says AAFCA President and Co-founder, Gil Robertson. “Every movie and TV show on our Top 10 Lists could have easily been number one. The number of incredible performances by black actors and actresses added to a very competitive field of performances and represents a step towards inclusion that our membership warmly embraces. We look forward to what 2017 has in store.”

 

The following is a complete list of 2016 AAFCA Awards winners. 

 

FILM

BEST PICTURE : MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST DIRECTOR: BARRY JENKINS, MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST ACTOR: DENZEL WASHINGTON, FENCES– (Paramount)

BEST ACTRESS: RUTH NEGA, LOVING – (Focus Features)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: MAHERSHALA ALI, MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST ENSEMBLE: THE Cast of HIDDEN FIGURES (20TH Century Fox)

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE 2017 – Janelle Monae for MOONLIGHT AND HIDDEN FIGURES

BEST INDEPENEDENT FILM: “MOONLIGHT” (A24)

BEST ANIMATION FILM; ZOOTOPIA (Disney)

BEST SONG – “VICTORY” from HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)

BEST DOCUMENTARY – 13 (Netflix)

BEST FOREIGN FILM – TANNA (Lightyear Entertainment) 

BEST SCREENPLAY – AUGUST WILSON, FENCES – (Paramount)

 

TV

BEST TV SHOW (Drama) – QUEEN SUGAR – OWN

BEST TV SHOW (Comedy) – ATLANTA – FX

BEST TV SHOW (CABLE/NEW MEDIA – UNDERGROUND – WGN America

BEST TV SHOW (Special/Limited Series) – LEMONADE – HBO

 

 

AAFCA Top Ten Films of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

 

  1. MOONLIGHT – A24
  2. FENCES – Paramount
  3. HIDDEN FIGURES – 20th Century Fox
  4. LION – The Weinstein Company
  5. LALA LAND – Lionsgate
  6. BIRTH OF A NATION – Fox Searchlight
  7. LOVING – Focus Features
  8. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions
  9. HELL OR HIGH WATER – CBS Films
  10. QUEEN OF KATWE – Disney

 

AAFCA Top Ten TV shows of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

 

  1. QUEEN SUGAR – OWN
  2. UNDERGROUND – WGN America
  3. ATLANTA – FX
  4. INSECURE – HBO
  5. LUKE CAGE – NETFLIX
  6. THIS IS US – NBC
  7. BLACKISH – ABC
  8. THE GET DOWN – NETFLIX
  9. WESTWORLD – HBO
  10. SURVIVOR’S REMORSE – STARZ

About AAFCA 

The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is the premiere organization of African-American film media professionals. Founded in 2003, AAFCA’s members represent a geographically diverse cross-section of media covering the cinematic arts. The organization honors excellence in cinema by creating awareness for films with universal appeal to black communities, while emphasizing film about the black experience and those produced written, directed and starring performers of African descent. The association actively reviews the quality and standard of black talent, content and media coverage. AAFCA also supports the development of future black film critics and filmmakers.