How Trailers for Oscar Nominees Make Their Cases

Tell the Truth

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

Over time, “based on a true story” has become a movie-marketing cliché, shorthand for quality in a world full of award-hungry biopics. With Hollywood churning out dozens of cinematic takes on real events, Oscar hopefuls must find a way to stand out.

Take the preview for “Hidden Figures,” which distinguishes itself from previous based-on-real-life space movies by telling audiences that its story is “untold.” The trailer makes that case from the get-go by highlighting racial politics and gender dynamics in its opening scene. A white police officer’s surprise that NASA employs black women offers some laughs, but it serves as a nice reminder that “Hidden Figures” breaks from the usual whiteness of Hollywood images of NASA.

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