Taraji P. Henson turned in one of the best performances this year in “Hidden Figures,” the true story about the black women who were an integral part of NASA’s early space program. Alongside Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, Henson effectively carries the film as physicist and mathematician Katherine Johnson.
But while the film has received many accolades this awards season, including a SAG award for the cast, some have questioned why Henson did not receive acting nominations at the two of the biggest awards ceremonies of the year: the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
Ted Melfi, director of the Oscar-nominated “Hidden Figures,” said that while he was “disappointed” to see Henson receive no major actor noms, he believes the snubs are probably a result of Hollywood politics ― not Henson’s talent.
I've heard director Ted Melfi be interviewed on public radio. He's as white-ignorant as they come on race. And it showed in his filming of Hidden Figures. So, I'm waiting for someone with a lot more sense to explain to me what is behind the politics of Henson's snub.
But he/they/whoever might be right. Henson's inability to campaign due to her full time job on EMPIRE might be at the root of the snub.
I'm also wondering how much black support she's getting while being associated with Uncle Lee Ruckus Daniels and EMPIRE. I like her a lot. But that association bothers me. Her defense of her woman beating EMPIRE co-star just because he's nice to her, personally (and also because her father had woman beating issues with her mother)? That also bothers me.
Even though her loyalty to Tyler Perry may bother other black people, that association doesn't bother me too much.
Perry is a little slow on the uptake but he's doing his best in my opinion, reference his problems with loving black stereotypes. And after reading Henson's autobiography, I understand that Perry putting her in a leading role in one of his movies made her able to demand huge salaries. Perry put her on the Hollywood map. When reading her autobiography, I couldn't believe where she had to live and what she had to pay for on her own in order to film her Oscar nominated performance in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. I couldn't believe it.
I didn't see the other actress performances in 100% white looking fiction worlds of LA LA LAND or MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. But there's no doubt about Henson's acting ability.
When her Carter character suddenly died in the television show PERSON OF INTEREST, her fans demanded to know why. Henson actually had to do an televised question and answer video to reassure fans that her death in the series was planned.
I didn't quite believe her explanation on her sudden departure from PERSON OF INTEREST since the white show runners had forgot to put this Oscar Nominated Actress on a TV Guide Cover as one of the shows stars. When Henson balked on her facebook page, it appeared to me that she was the one deemed unprofessional and had to apologize. White show runners, by happenstance, cut her role in the show way down in favor of a white-looking actress--until her role surged back into prominence for what would turn out to be her last three episodes.
The website "Sandra Rose" said Henson was fired from Person of Interest (See April 7 2015 edition). We'll probably never know the truth of it. Henson all but deleted her 2.5 years with PERSON OF INTEREST from her biography, Around the Way Girl: A Memoir
On a side note, you may recall that something similar happened to Nicole Beharie on Fox.
She was one of duo on SLEEPY HOLLOW. Beharie was supposed to be one of the shows two stars. Yet her role was cut and cut and cut in favor of white actors and actresses. In that NY Times article that called Shonda Rhimes "angry black woman" described Viola Davis "less Classically beautiful" the writer of the article called Beharie's character in SLEEPY HOLLOW "a side kick."
Calling Beharie a "side kick" was certainly an insult. But what was even more insulting was that white powers that be on that show made her sidekick status a true fact.
Beharie didn't wind up being left off a TV Guide Cover like Henson was. But her white show runners forgot to call her when they were doing interviews and commentary they placed on the DVDs that were to be sold to he public.
Beharie too left her own show abruptly.
And, once again, I swore I was done with Fox. This made it easier for me to pass on EMPIRE. And from what I hear? I'm glad I did.
White male dominated Hollywood is rough on black actresses, even those white males who look at white and liberal and proactive. And while I have no clue as to why Henson wasn't nominated this time around, I'm not going to forget how Henson or Beharie and countless other black actresses before them have been treated in the past.
And I'm going to do my level best to support black created, black directed, and black produced movies and shows more than I do white produced shows with black faces. It's 2016, I'm tired of how white produced stuff always turns out.