Leslie Odom Jr. Says Golden Globes Noms Represent “Years of My Life”

“It took me 15 years to find my way to ‘Hamilton’ and then a few years more to ‘Music’; a few years more to ‘One Night in Miami,'” he tells The Hollywood Reporter of his journey.

On Tuesday night, Leslie Odom Jr. went to sleep having never been recognized by the Golden Globes. On Wednesday morning, he woke up to two nominations. Odom was nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as best supporting actor for his role in One Night in Miami, along with best original song in “Speak Now” for the film. He is also among the casts for Hamilton and Music, which were both nominated in the best motion picture, musical or comedy category.

Following the early-morning announcement, before he’d even had his coffee (“I don’t know if I’m speaking English — I hope you can speak Golden Globe!” he notes), Odom talked to The Hollywood Reporter about his reactions, the significance of the nominated films and Regina King fandom.

Were you watching live this morning?

I was very soundly sleeping.

Did you wake up to a wave of calls and texts?

I did. I left my phone on. I really didn’t even want to know what day nomination morning was for some of these things, because it’s heady stuff and it’s not why we do this. I didn’t want to know, but my assistant had a talk with me. We were working late last night, it was like 2:30 a.m. when we left downtown. He said, “We need to be grownups and leave our phones on in the morning because this is a very important part of the business.” What something like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association did this morning, they shine a light on a little movie like One Night in Miami and they potentially bring more eyeballs to it.

What do these nominations mean to you, especially having three projects represented?

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that because it represents a great deal to me, personally — it’s quite literally thousands of hours of my life. When I think about the years of development for Hamilton and over 500 shows as Aaron Burr. When I think about how Sia was one of the first calls that I got after leaving Hamilton and she wanted me to be a be a part of this movie that I couldn’t quite understand, even as she described it to me, but I wanted to be a part of the cinema. I wanted to see if I could make the leap from the stage to the big screen. I think about One Night in Miami and all the things that I learned on music with Sia, and how it made me a better artist and made me more ready to take on a challenge like Regina King’s One Night in Miami.

It’s a lot for me to process, those three projects in particular, because they represent years of my life, but they also represent something more. I think they represent the ridiculous vision and hope that I had for my life as an artist, that I had as a teenager. As I went to go study in drama school, there was some part of me that was idealistic or something. I kind of thought that my whole career would be full of projects like this. But it took me 15 years to find my way to Hamilton and then a few years more to Music; a few years more to One Night in Miami. When I connect them all, or when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association connects them all on a morning like today, I’m also just thinking about why I got started doing this in the first place.

How does it feel to see Regina King get that directing nomination?

I want Regina’s name called again and again. She has inspired me for decades in front of the camera — just this very past year, her performance in Watchmen is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen on a television series. That is not hyperbole; it was just an astounding performance, and she brought that same nose for truth and that same sensitivity and protectiveness to her work behind the camera. I’m always happy to hear that Regina King’s name is mentioned, and that’s spoken as a Regina King fan.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity. The Golden Globe Awards ceremony is produced by Dick Clark Productions, a division of MRC, which is a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC. 

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Odom had received four individual nods.

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