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Actresses from left, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae snap-up their name plaques after the screening of the movie 'Hidden Figures,' Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. The three actresses, who all are cast members in the movie, where on a panel to discuss the movie during a special screening at the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Michelle Obama honored these NASA pioneers with a star-studded 'Hidden Figures' screening


First Lady Michelle Obama honored the real-life inspirations behind new movie "Hidden Figures" with a screening of the film at the White House.

In the film, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, play real-life African American mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration whose calculations helped astronaut John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

The three stars joined Kevin Costner, who plays their boss Al Harrison, for the screening on Thursday, as did musician Pharrell Williams, who contributed to film's score.

Michelle honored the pioneers in a speech, who fought both racism and sexism to contribute to the space program.

"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," she said.

Hidden Figures | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

WATCH | The trailer for "Hidden Figures"

In a pointed remark outlining that the battle against racism and sexism continues, 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."

The First Lady said she thought "people all over the world" should watch the film to remind themselves of people like Katherine, Dorothy and Mary's contributions to America.

White House Hidden Figures Event

WATCH | The White House "Hidden Figures" panel

In an otherwise earnest speech she did manage a joke at her husband's expense, saying she thought Kevin Costner was “still as handsome as ever,” but had waited until President Obama had left the event until saying so.

Hidden Figures is in cinemas from Christmas Day.

(World Entertainment News Network contributed to this report)

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