Leslie Odom Jr. became a two-time Oscar nominee today for his performance in One Night In Miami. For his role as legendary singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, the actor earned a nomination for Best Supporting actor as well as one for Best Original Song as the composer and performer of the film’s ending credits track, Speak Now.
Speaking with Deadline after the nominations were revealed, Odom Jr. gave credit to his time on the hit Broadway show Hamilton for opening new opportunities for him.
“I never dreamed that I would be a part of the movies in any way,” said Odom Jr. “For all of us that were lucky enough to be a part of that original company of Hamilton, the gift of that experience is that it did open doors that were never opened for us. And it made a way for us to dream new dreams for ourselves… it feels like a beginning in a lot of ways. It just feels like I can build from here.”
Reflecting on the role of Sam Cooke, Odom Jr. said “the same thing that made me want to run away from the project was that the same thing that made me happy that Regina King saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself because I didn’t want to do it because I loved Sam so much. I was worried about letting him down. But at the end of the day, the thing that got me to the set each morning was the fact that I love Sam.”
For the song to underscore the themes and messaging of the film, Odom Jr. said he and co-composer Sam Ashworth “wanted to be a bridge,” from the past to the present in a way.
“We wanted to help deliver people back into the present moment with a charge and the charge was how do you make good use of these themes and these messages? How do you make good use of what film has stirred inside of you? How do you put it into action?” he posed.
“We really wanted to be a bridge between the world of the film and to have one foot in the past, and then over the course of the tune, usher people back into the present moment.”
The 93rd annual Academy Awards ceremony will air April 25 on ABC.
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