Former NASA Mathematician, 98, Gets Her Moment at Oscars

From left, Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer pose with Katherine Johnson, seated, backstage at the Oscars on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo: Matt Sayles / Invision / Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — She said only “thank you,” but it was one of the more moving moments of Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.

Katherine Johnson, 98, the former NASA mathematician played by Taraji P. Henson in the movie “Hidden Figures,” was brought on stage to thunderous applause. She was introduced by Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer, who all star in the film as female black mathematicians who helped put NASA ahead in the space race against the Soviet Union. “Hidden Figures” was nominated for best picture.

The 98-year-old Johnson wore a blue dress and was brought out in a wheelchair during Sunday’s ceremony.