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How Harvard University Is Honoring Hidden Figures’ Octavia Spencer

By Victor Trammell

Actress Octavia Spencer (pictured) is currently riding high off the success of “Hidden Figures,” the box office hit, which just made a big splash at movie theaters across America in its debut earlier this month.

On January 26th, Harvard University’s student theatrical group will be giving Spencer the 2017 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award for her appearance in the groundbreaking movie, which positively turned the tide for black female actresses in America’s big screen film industry.

However, Harvard University’s honor of Spencer might not necessarily be something that is suitable considering the fact that the  Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award is also an accolade about fun and games. Ashley Lee, an online contributor for Hollywood Reporter Magazine wrote the following about Spencer’s upcoming “honor” from Harvard University:

[Octavia Spencer] will be honored — and roasted — Jan. 26 at the [Harvard University student theatrical group’s] first-ever live-streamed ceremony. The group stated in a [press] release that they are ‘proud to honor an actress whose depth of talent has captivated audiences with her comedic wit and her graceful portrayals of the underrepresented.’ The Woman of the Year honor is given to performers who have made lasting contributions to entertainment.”‘ (

In “Hidden Figures,” Spencer portrays Dorothy Vaughn, a black woman who historically worked as a mathematician for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which became to be known as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Vaughn played a key role in the Apollo space launches, which eventually helped put the first man from America on the moon. To some people, Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award might be a great opportunity for Spencer. However, getting roasted by a group of students at America’s most prominent Ivy League school is probably not a big enough honor for a black actress who played a crucial role in a historic depiction of American black women in the STEM field.

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