The actor received Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Song nominations for One Night in Miami, while his two other projects, Hamilton and Sia's Music, also earned big nods.

By Christian Holub
February 03, 2021 at 01:51 PM EST
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Leslie Odom Jr. woke up on Wednesday to two personal Golden Globe nominations: One Best Supporting Actor nod for portraying Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami, and one for Best Original Song for writing and performing the new song "Speak Now" that appears in the credits of the film. But two other films Odom appeared in last year, Hamilton and Sia's Music, also scored nominations in other categories (see the full list here). Remarkably, even though all three projects qualified for this year's Golden Globes, they collectively represent Odom's performance work over the last five years — on top of that, he is careful to note, the lifetime of practice that led up to them. 

"That's the trippiest and headiest part of this. On a personal level, I'm trying to wrap my head around this last half-decade of my life," Odom tells EW. "Hamilton in so many ways was the beginning of something for me, even though it took 15 years to find my way into a room like that, to a role like that. Then, not long after I left that show, I got a call from Sia to be a part of this movie that she was making. It was hard even for her to explain Music. We called it 'Camp Sia' while we were working on it. One summer I was going to dance classes all day with Kate, and then I'd have my piano lesson, and then I'd go to the studio at night to record the music. It was such a transformative experience. I left it a freer artist, a better artist." 

Odom continues, "fast-forward a few more years, and then Regina King and Kemp Powers gave a room full of Black men the opportunity to work on a piece like One Night in Miami and honor the legacies of these giants. The fact that all three of those projects were represented this morning by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association says quite a bit about the hopes and dreams that teenage me had when I first started out in this business. I felt like I saw my white brothers and sisters that I'd gone to school with and lived with getting the opportunities for this kind of variety in their careers, this type of range. I just was hopeful, but it's hard to hold on to hope. So to wake up on a morning like this when your vision stops being hazy and starts to get a little clearer, that's really an encouraging thing." 

Credit: Patti Perret/Amazon Studios

Though Odom filmed all these performances at separate times, their convergence on nomination day allows him to consider similarities and shared resonances. Hamilton (a filmed version of a stage production) and One Night in Miami (a film based on a play, adapted by its playwright) present two different models for the intersection between film and theater, a nexus that Odom is growing accustomed to. 

"That was one of the things that made One Night in Miami simpatico with me," Odom says. "I've spent the last five years or so really asking myself, is there a way that I can be valuable in this new medium? Is there a way that I can make good use of myself in cinema? What things might I have to change about myself or what new skills do I need to learn in this new medium? All those questions that I've been asking myself, One Night in Miami was asking of itself. Kemp was asking that of his piece that also was trying to go from the stage to the big screen. So it felt like we were doing the same thing." 

In past years, EW has published articles on Golden Globes nomination day noting the visible lack of nominations for female directors. That is thankfully not a problem this year, as three different women were nominated for Best Director — including One Night in Miami helmer Regina King. 

"I'm a Regina King stan, so I'm a little biased, but I just want to add to her historic directing nomination the fact that she does it within a year and a half of giving us one of the greatest performances ever on television, in my opinion," Odom says. "That Watchmen performance is going to stand the test of time. And she gives us that just a few months after she gave us her beautiful supporting actress turn in If Beale Street Could Talk. We're definitely in a Regina King Renaissance. When I really think about how many decades I have been aware of Regina King and her work, and  I think about this moment that she's having right now, in so many ways doesn't it feel like she's just getting started? Isn't that insane? That's another thing that is only gonna make sense when we're looking back." 

One Night in Miami is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and Hamilton is streaming on Disney+. Stay tuned to EW.com for more coverage of the 2021 Golden Globes.

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