'Hidden Figures' stars honor NASA physicist Katherine Johnson on Oscars stage

Dan Mac Medan via Getty Images

Katherine Johnson was honored at the Oscars. Johnson, who was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film, was a "human computer" who helped develop the math to put John Glenn into orbit and return him safely to Earth.

Ninety-eight-year-old former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson profiled in "Hidden Figures" received a standing ovation during the Academy Awards Sunday night. Henson introduced Johnson as "a true NASA and American hero".

Octavia was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the awards show this evening.

Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer took to the Oscar stage to introduce the nominees for Best Documentary Feature, but before they opened the envelope and announced the victor, they shined the spotlight on famed scientist Katherine Johnson, who Henson plays in the film.




"It was a piece of cake", Johnson previously told WTKR, joking about her legendary math skills during her time at NASA in Hampton.

Although she started out working on crashed planes' black box data, her mathematical genius landed her in an all-male team focusing on flight research for rockets. She carried out the calculations for Alan Shepard's flight (which made him the first American in space).

"Thank you all", Johnson said. "Sometimes they have more imagination than men".

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