Common celebrates Dr. King’s birthday with Oscar nom

Common says earning an Oscar nomination for his music attached to a film about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the activist’s birthday makes the moment one of the best in his career.

Common’s « Glory, » featuring John Legend, earned an Academy Award nomination for best original song. The track, which won a Golden Globe Award earlier this week, is in the film « Selma, » where Common plays the role of activist James Bevel.

« I feel like, ‘Wow! I never knew that this would happen,’  » Common said in a phone interview Thursday from Los Angeles. « Just thinking about creating songs in music and in hip-hop, and for me to say, ‘I’m an Oscar-nominated actor, or artist. I’m an Oscar-nominated person,’ it’s incredible.

« I am overwhelmed and inspired and enthused. I am actually ready to do more work now. »

Thursday would have been King’s 86th birthday. He was assassinated in 1968 at age 39.

The 44-year-old Common, whose real name is Lonnie Lynn, has won Grammy Awards for his conscience music, and he’s had a number of acting roles. He says being part of « Selma, » which is based on the 1965 marches from the Alabama cities of Selma to Montgomery led by King, is a nice summation of his career, because it involves activism, serious acting and deep music.

« This movie is what I am about. This movie is about standing up for what you believe in, it’s about equality and justice and people getting their rights, and as an artist, as a human being, as an actor, that’s what I want to express, » he said.

« Selma » is also nominated for best picture. Common says he had hoped to see his cast mates, as well as director Ava DuVernay earn nominations, too.

« I was very much hoping because Ava created an incredible piece of work and that film is a beautiful film, » he said. « And David Oyelowo, actually (costume designer) Ruth Carter, like I was hoping for our whole team because we created a family. But for sure Ava DuVernay because … she put so much heart and soul into it. »

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