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Women Who Inspired Oscar-Nominated Films

Women Who Inspired Oscar-Nominated Films

So, if you aren’t already familiar with the stories and want to leave some suspense for the film, look away. But if you’re like the team at Elvie and enjoy a history lesson or two (or just have the need to know everything), read on.

There is a famous quote ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ but in this case, let it!


Film: Jackie

Nomination: Best Actress, Best Original Music Score, Best Costume Design

Who: Jacqueline Kennedy

Played by: Natalie Portman

What she did: Besides being a style icon with her signature pillbox hat and pink Chanel suit, Jackie was First Lady to President John F. Kennedy. She restored the White House, promoted the arts by hosting dinners for various artists and won an Emmy for her White House Tour broadcast. She lost a child soon after giving birth and only 3 months later, lost her husband when he was assassinated in 1963. She was praised for grace, style and poise during her time as First Lady and after her tragic loss.


Film: Florence Foster Jenkins

Nomination: Best Actress, Best Costume Design

Who: Florence Foster Jenkins

Played by: Meryl Streep

What she did: Originally a New York socialite in the 1940s, Florence Foster Jenkins threw money at the arts industry until she one day decided herself to become an opera singer. Even though she was named “the world’s worst opera singer” her tone-deaf concerts became largely successful, to the point of selling out.

Meryl said “Florence was a person who kept something we all have when we are children – when you can’t really do anything that well, but you hurl yourself into the imagining of it and take delight in the doing...she loved it and loved music, and there’s something of that delight in our script.”

Film: Hidden Figures

Nomination: Best Picture, Best Actress in a supporting role, Best writing (screenplay)

Who: Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson

Played by: (Respectively) Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monåe

What they did: All three African-American women were behind the NASA mission that saw the first American astronaut to orbit Earth. Thereafter became many firsts with Vaughan becoming NASA’s first African-American manager and Jackson becoming NASA’s first black female engineer.

Their credit for the mission was still left out of the history books, until recently. Until recently when Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2015. The film is an ode to those three women who changed the space industry.

Film: Loving

Nomination: Best Actress

Who: Mildred Loving

Played by: Ruth Negga

What she did: Mildred Loving was an African-American woman who, along with her partner, successfully changed Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages in 1967. After eloping in Washington with her husband, Richard, the couple returned to Virginia. Not only did Virginia ban interracial marriages but also black and white citizens from marrying outside the state and returning to live, so they were arrested and charged. They were sentenced to one year in prison until they agreed to leave the state and not return for 25 years which they agreed. Later on, they were fed up and took the case to a Virginia court, claiming the law was unfair, which upheld the original ruling. The case was then taken to United States Supreme Court where they agreed in favour of the Lovings, changing the law forever.