Common's 2015 Oscar win for Best Original Song was "one of the greatest joys" in his life. The rapper took home the award with John Legend for their song "Glory" from Selma.
"I felt really moved because they called the names we were born with, which is Lonnie Lynn and John Stephens," Common recalls in A.frame's "Behind the Oscars Speech" series. "My father, he had just passed, and my name is his name. So, I felt a lot of homage in what was going on."
"My mother had come into town with all of, like, my next-door neighbors and friends and family. I felt a joy that I was doing it not only for me, but it felt like it was for, like, a whole community, including my family, the hip-hop community, the people who were just going through the struggles," he continues.
"Glory," which was written by Legend, Common and Rhymefest, served as the theme song for 2014's Selma, which portrayed the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. Common also starred in the film as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel.
Common did his best to stay "present" at the awards show, but admits his excitement got the better of him. He missed a high-five from Selma producer and co-star Oprah Winfrey on his way to the stage, instead celebrating with David Oyelowo.
"I thought Oprah was doing that to John," he explains. "I just always want to make it clear that I would have went to Oprah, but I didn't want to play myself. And I actually felt like I ended up playing Oprah, but I didn't mean to."
In addition to Best Original Song, Selma was nominated for Best Picture at the 87th Academy Awards. The film, directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb, starred Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., with an ensemble cast including Common, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Carmen Ejogo, Giovanni Ribisi, Alessandro Nivola, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Winfrey. Christian Colson, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner produced, alongside Winfrey.