The Oscar winner was recognised in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture category for her portrayal of real-life NASA mathematician Dorothy Vaughan when the shortlist was announced on Monday (12Dec16), and she couldn't help but marvel at how appropriate it was to learn about her nod while travelling to Cape Canaveral.

"We're going to NASA today...," she explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "It was the most wonderful surprise... We're having a little sip of champagne in the car on the way!"

Hidden Figures chronicles the battle three female African-American pioneers had to overcome to work on the 1962 mission to launch late astronaut John Glenn into space.

Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae play Vaughan's fellow geniuses Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson, respectively, and Octavia is thankful the film - and the achievements of their real-life characters - is getting the recognition it deserves.

"It's a story about unsung heroes," she said. "That's why this nomination is that much sweeter for me because I'm playing a woman who was recognised within NASA but the world at large didn't really know about her contributions to science, technology, engineering and math and to the space program... It's resonating because it's a story whose time has come to be told (sic)."

Octavia was the only member of the cast, which includes Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, and Mahershala Ali, to be recognised by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association officials for the 2017 Golden Globes, and The Help star admits she is disappointed her co-stars weren't also feted for their work.

"I'm a little bummed about that," she confessed. "I don't feel my work would be anything without my co-stars. We have one of the best ensembles - brilliant actors, generous actors. They all signed on to do the project because they were moved by the story."

The nomination is Octavia's second - she previously won the same Golden Globe for The Help in 2012.

Hidden Figures' only other nomination is for Best Original Score - Motion Picture, thanks to the work of composers Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, and hip-hop superproducer Pharrell Williams.