Ted Melfi, director of “Hidden Figures,” has finally weighed in on the infamous “Hidden Fences” controversy.
At January’s Golden Globes, both Michael Keaton and red carpet host Jenna Bush referred to the film as “Hidden Fences,” mistakenly combining the title of Melfi’s movie, about black women’s contributions to NASA, with Denzel Washington’s “Fences.”
The flubs launched hilarious memes on social media, but also criticism over Hollywood’s inability to differentiate between two films with predominantly black casts.
Melfi says his initial reaction to the mistake was to laugh.
“You laugh about it. You say, ‘Oh that’s funny.’ And then... it’s not that funny,” Melfi told The Huffington Post.
“You start to analyze it. Is it misspelled on the teleprompter? You think, well if that’s the case, it’s even worse.”
But ultimately, Melfi says he believes that the “Hidden Fences” debacle was just a mental flub on the part of Bush and Keaton.
“At some point you just chalk it up to the fact that people make mistakes. You just move on.”
But while the director has moved on from the meme, he still believes that the tendency to lump movies with black casts together is a prevalent problem, and one that needs to stop.
“I get upset when I hear ‘black film,’” Melfi says.
“And so does Taraji P. Henson. Taraji will always say to me, ‘I’m sick of this. I’m sick of hearing ‘black film.’ Why can’t we just call it a film?’”
“Hidden Figures” will compete for the ‘Best Picture’ trophy at next Sunday’s Academy Awards.