Atsushi Nishijima
Nicole Sperling
January 15, 2015 AT 11:08 PM EST

Hip hop artist-turned-actor Common can now add Oscar nominee to his hyphenate for the song Glory that he co-wrote with musician John Legend for the film Selma—one of the two nominations the film received Thursday. He wrote the song after co-starring in the movie as civil rights activist James Bevel. The film’s director Ava DuVernay had brought up penning a song for the film but nothing was ever finalized as DuVernay was rushing to finish her movie.

“I just took the initiative to start working on it,” he said Thursday morning after learning he landed an honor. “And I thought if I got John Legend to do a song with me, I know it could be something really beautiful for the movie.”

Common gave Legend three titles for the song, and “Glory” stuck with the musician, who wrote a gospel-esque piano track for the song Common penned the lyrics to. “I wanted to pay honor and respect to the people of the civil rights movement and I also wanted to bring it to present day to say ‘Hey everybody, this is our time to make a change in the world now. They took it that far. Now it’s our chance to take it further.'”

The musician is thrilled that Selma landed a Best Picture nod but disappointed that actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay were left off the list. “I have no understanding why they may not have gotten the nominations for Best Director and Best Actor,” he said. “I think the work Ava and David did is impeccable. And more than anything I want to celebrate that.”

Common hasn’t heard yet whether the producers of the Oscar telecast will invite him and Legend perform the song on Oscar night. But if they ask, he’s game. “That would be incredible,” he said. “That would be the high point of my career—a very high point.”

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