The anthem from Selma – written by John Legend and Common — was the odds-on favorite to win, especially after it won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. “This is where the Academy is bound and determined to honor Selma beyond its Best Picture nomination,” Deadline’s Awards Editor Pete Hammond said.
Legend told the Academy audience that “the struggle for justice is right now” citing the high number of black men incarcerated today.
“Glory” beat “Grateful” (by Diane Warren for Beyond The Lights), “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond for the documentary Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me), “Everything Is Awesome” (by Shawn Patterson for The Lego Movie), and “Lost Stars” (by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois for Begin Again).
Common – who played civil rights leader James Bevel in the film — enlisted Legend to help craft the theme for the historical drama about the marches 50 years ago that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In January they performed “Glory” on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site where police a half century ago assaulted peaceful demonstrators. The song writers chose not to include a drum beat so “Glory” might evoke a classic protest song. They also gave it a contemporary context by referring to the Ferguson, MO police shooting of Michael Brown last year.