The 87th Academy Awards took place live from The Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on Sunday, February 22. The awards were televised live on the ABC Television Network and also televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. The Oscars are produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
The nominees for Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song) include:
“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”; Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from “Selma”; Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”; Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”; Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
After performing an emotional version of the song which received a standing ovation from the audience with some members of the audience in tears, Common and John Legend won the Oscar. They both accepted the award on stage.
Common whose real name is Lonnie Lynn started by stating “First, I would like to thank God, who lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings.”
John who was nominated under his real last name of Stephens stated “Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago but we say that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you”.
They then ended their speech by thanking the director, producers and studio.
Backstage after their win they talked about the collaborative process. Legend stated “Common called me, he called me because he had spoken to Ava, and they wanted to find a song for the end credits of the film. And he called me, I was on tour at the time in London, and he described what they were looking for and he gave me some ideas for the title for the song. And one of the ideas he gave me was “glory,” and that word really inspired me and I wanted to write a chorus and music around that idea of “glory.” And my thoughts were that the song should sound triumphant but also realized that there was more work to do. So when I said, “One day when the glory comes,” that means we still have more work to do. And so that’s what I wrote about. And then Common wrote incredible verses that tied Dr. King’s movement to what’s happening in America today.”
Other music related nominations were JK Simmons who was nominated and won for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Whiplash” and Alexandre Desplat who won for Best Original Score for Grand Budapest Hotel.