'Hidden Figures' (Official trailer)
Going in to Tuesday’s Academy Award nominations, it seemed that a few performers who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., could have been contenders.
But all were shut out.
The strongest possibility, according to Oscar prognosticators, was singer-turned-actress Janelle Monáe, a graduate of Schlagle High School. She was on many lists to nab a supporting actress nomination for “Hidden Figures,” the feel-good story about the unsung heroines of the early NASA space program. Co-star Octavia Spencer did earn a nomination, as expected, and the film is up for best picture.
Monae also appears in best picture nominee “Moonlight,” as the girlfriend of a former drug dealer, played by Mahershala Ali, the front-runner for best supporting actor. So even though she doesn’t have her own nomination, Monae has plenty of reason to show up on the Academy Awards red carpet Feb. 26.
Another name bandied about for nominations in recent days was Sumner High grad Stephen McKinley Henderson, who had a shot at a best supporting actor nomination for the 1950s drama “Fences.” He plays Bono, best friend to Denzel Washington’s prickly Troy. “Fences” is up for best picture, and Washington was nominated for best actor.
In “Manchester By the Sea,” another best picture nominee, Henderson has a small role as an apartment building superintendent. He’s the firm but understanding boss to the troubled handyman played by best actor front-runner Casey Affleck.
And finally, Piper High School grad Eric Stonestreet might have been a contender for voicing the shaggy dog Duke in “The Secret Life of Pets,” but that animated film was ignored as well.