Leslie Odom, Jr. is a dual first-time Golden Globe nominee, recognized both as an actor and singer for his work on the film One Night in Miami. The news came on Wednesday, when the full list of nominees for the 78th annual Golden Globes were announced, revealing that the actor is up for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for his portrayal of Sam Cooke and Best Original Song for co-writing and performing the song “Speak Now.”
“I have never been through anything like this before,” Odom tells ET’s Nischelle Turner, while reacting to the news about his movie nominations. Of course, the actor is no stranger to accolades, having won a Tony and a GRAMMY Award for his onstage performance in Hamilton. “You know, we have our award season in the theater and stuff, of course. But it's nothing like this. It just, yeah, it feels very, very new. It's a new invitation that's for sure.”
Largely known for his portrayal of Aaron Burr in the smash Broadway musical, Odom has slowly crossed over into film with bigger and bigger roles in films like Murder on the Orient Express, Harriet and now One Night in Miami and the upcoming Music. Additionally, a film version of Hamilton, which was released on Disney+ last year, was also nominated for two Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.
“It took me 15 years to find my way into a project like Hamilton, into a role like Aaron Burr,” Odom says, looking back on his career and this full circle moment. “But that was the beginning for me in so many ways. The fact that that is part of this morning, you know, the beginning and then my most recent thing -- I hope it's not my ending. But, you know, this latest thing, One night in Miami, Regina King's beautiful film that I feel so lucky to be a part of -- that just wouldn't exist for me if not for Hamilton.”
He adds, “The fact that they're both called out this morning feels tremendous and yeah I'm still processing.”
While Odom is excited to be nominated, he says that they were far from his mind while going to work on a project like One Night in Miami, which was directed by Regina King. “I was just trying not to embarrass myself and that’s all,” he says of the biopic film with Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown and Eli Goree as Cassius Clay.
“Every day, we were just trying to do the work ahead of us in a way that honored the legacies of these men, these giants that we're playing in a way that wouldn't embarrass us or the men themselves,” the actor continues. “So that really was our focus. We were not thinking about this kind of stuff at all. Truly.”
And when it comes to King, who earned a groundbreaking Best Director nomination, Odom says, “I really think that what we're seeing in Regina King, this kind of sustained excellence that we're seeing from her is really a marvel. [It’s] something to inspire us all and for us all to aspire to.”
While Odom has less than a month to wait until the Globes are handed out live on Feb. 28 during a bicoastal ceremony, the actor is busy preparing for another big weekend: Super Bowl LV.
Late into the evening before the Golden Globe nominations were announced, Odom was busy recording a performance for the NFL Honors, a pre-recorded telecast that airs Saturday night. “The Super Bowl is this weekend, so we were shooting a beautiful thing for in-memoriam for the NFL,” Odom says. “So we were doing that until last night until 2 a.m.”
For Odom, it was a nice distraction from the impending nominations. But he reveals that his assistant warned him he could be getting a phone call just a few hours later. “He said, ‘Listen, there's a good chance that we will be calling you very early. So please have your phone on.’ So I said, ‘I'll give you that.’ I left my phone on so I could be reached but I was dead asleep.”
Luckily for him, he woke up to the news that he was not just a one, but a two-time Golden Globe nominee. “One Night in Miami is such a gift to me,” Odom says. “It's like a little miracle in my life.”