Octavia Spencer's Reaction to Meeting Barack Obama Is Priceless
A picture’s worth a thousand words — but this shot of Octavia Spencer is gold.
The 46-year-old Oscar winner was at the White House for a private screening of her new film Hidden Figures hosted by Michelle Obama on Thursday — when president Barack Obama showed up for a surprise visit!
Judging from a photo captured upon the president’s arrival, Spencer was very excited to see him.
“That face when the President drops by for a visit,” the White House captioned the pic on its Instagram page.
“Our screening was with #FLOTUS but #POTUS surprised us,” Spencer wrote on her regram of the photo. “Humbling because he has a million things to do but stopped by to say hello!!!!”
Costars Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe also attended the screening, along with cast member Kevin Costner, director Theodore Melfi and the the film’s music producer Pharrell Williams. Many documented their experience on social media.
The ladies play a trio of real-life African-American mathematicians battling sexism and racism while working at NASA during the still-segregated 1960s to help the United States defeat Russian during the International Space Race.
Their characters — Katherine G. Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Monáe) — were the women behind “Project Mercury,” which helped launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon.
The first lady delivered remarks and praised the “remarkable” and “important” film for celebrating not only what America achieved by becoming the first country to put a man on the moon, “but, more importantly, how we achieved it.”
“We sought out the very best minds in math and engineering at the time, people with diverse perspectives who could think in ways that no one had ever thought before — people like many of you in this room, the people like Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan,” she said
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She also framed the achievements of the women in film against the political climate of the time.
“These women couldn’t even drink from the same water fountain or use the same bathroom as many of their colleagues … and folks didn’t always take these women seriously because they were black, and also because they were women,” the first lady said.
“There’s an important life lesson to be learned from these women,” she added: “They didn’t listen to those doubters. They did not listen to the haters — because they’re always out there. They’re out there even today.”
“And each of these women decided to believe in herself and step up when her country needed her. And more than anything else, that is the great American story that is told in this film,” the first lady said.
While the president did surprise the cast, he wasn’t around while his wife gushed about Hidden Figures costar Costner — calling him “handsome as ever.”
“I said that after my husband left,” she added to laughs. “He’s not watching.”
Hidden Figures hits theaters Dec. 25.