Stanford alum earns Oscar nomination for Hidden Figures

Allison Schroeder
Allison Schroeder

And the Oscar goes to … well, maybe to ALLISON SCHROEDER, ’01, for co-writing with Theodore Melfi the adapted screenplay for Hidden Figures. This is the first Academy Award nomination for Schroeder and she is the lone woman on Oscar’s 2017 screenwriter lists, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The story behind Hidden Figures, a multiple Oscar nominee (Best Picture; Actress in a Supporting Role; and Writing – Adapted Screenplay) starts in the early 1960s, according to the film’s synopsis on the Oscar website, as the U.S. seeks to surpass the Soviet Union in the space race. Three mathematically and technologically gifted African American women must cope with racism and sexism while performing vital tasks at NASA’s segregated Virginia facilities.

In a Los Angeles Times profile of Schroeder, film writer Amy Kaufman wrote about the many ways that NASA touched Schroeder’s life. She wrote, “Her grandparents worked there. She interned there in high school, learning binary coding and how to build a circuit board. After her freshman year at Stanford, where she majored in economics, she spent a summer working at a missile launch company. And now, NASA is at the heart of the movie that has earned her an Oscar nomination. When she heard that Hollywood producers were looking for a screenwriter to write a film called Hidden Figures about three little-known female African American NASA mathematicians, she knew she had to write it.”

Actress Octavia Spencer and screenwriter Allison Schroeder
Hidden Figures star and Oscar nominee Octavia Spencer, left, onstage with Allison Schroeder, one of the movie’s co-writers. Schroeder is also nominated for an Oscar.

Schroeder studied economics in the classroom, but performance was also part of her Stanford education. She was a member of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society, Stanford’s oldest and largest theatrical organization, and in her senior year she choreographed Gaieties, the original, student-written, student-produced musical parody performed in Memorial Auditorium the week before Stanford’s Big Game against Cal. She went on from Stanford to earn an MFA in the Production Program at the University of Southern California.

Schroeder is co-chair of the Women’s Committee of the Writers Guild of America and a member of the WGA Diversity Advisory Group. In December 2016, the talent and literary agency Verve announced it signed the screenwriter.

The 89th Academy Awards will be held  Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.