Mary J. Blige is dancing into the Golden Globe Awards as a double nominee — for her acting and songwriting — while Mariah Carey, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Nick Jonas are some of the other popular singers also nominated.
Blige earned nominations Monday for her work in the Dee Rees’ period film Mudbound. She’s up for best supporting actress in a motion picture and best original song for “Mighty River,” which she co-wrote.
“I feel so good. I’ve been thanking God all morning long. I’ve been up since my phone has been ringing,” the 46-year-old singer said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
Mudbound, released on Netflix last month, follows two neighboring families — one black, one white — on a hardscrabble farm in 1940’s Mississippi. Blige plays the role of Florence Jackson, a mother and sharecropper’s wife.
They filmed last summer in New Orleans, around the time Blige announced she was divorcing from her husband and former manager. She said she took all of the emotion from her personal life and put it into the film.
“I would come over to [my acting coach’s] house and I would be going through it. And she would say, ‘Take all of that mess and give it to Florence. Give everything to Florence.’ And I just gave Florence everything that was good, bad, vulnerable, that was strong, that was sad, that was disappointing,” she said.
Blige detailed the very public breakup and infidelity claims on her album, Strength of a Woman, released in April.
“2016 was the year that I didn’t know what the heck was going on. As women we have intuition, we don’t know exactly what’s happening, we just feel everything. I know I feel everything. And I just gave … everything I was feeling to Florence,” she added.
Blige, who grew up in New York, said trips to the South to visit her family also helped her connect to the character: “I would see my grandmother and my aunts and they were this woman Florence, so I saw this woman a lot. I think I probably have her in my DNA.”
She also said it was tough transforming from Mary J. Blige, the 9-time Grammy-winning R&B superstar, to Mary J. Blige, the actress.
“I wear a lot of wigs and weaves and things like that, but for this I had to wear my own textured hair, which I was never really wanting to do, especially without a perm,” Blige said. “And [Dee Rees] was like, ‘No, I want nappy edges. I want Florence to look like she’s a sharecropper’s wife,’ and it was a little hard disconnecting from Mary J. Blige because she’s been around for a minute. So it was hard to get rid of her. But once I got rid of her, Florence actually liberated Mary. So it was sad but beautiful at the same time.”
Blige’s two nominations are the only ones Mudbound earned Monday.
The singer shares her best original song nomination with Taura Stinson and Raphael Saadiq, the singer-songwriter-producer who has worked on hits for Solange, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and himself.
Blige’s competition includes Carey, who is nominated for the Christmas tune “The Star,” from the animated movie of the same name.
“Listen, I’ve been a fan of Mariah Carey since Mariah Carey came out. It’s a beautiful thing to see all of your peers at the same time being blessed and nominated and recognized for our work,” Blige said.
Jonas is also up for best original song for “Home” from the animated film Ferdinand. Jonas and Carey are first-time Globe nominees; Blige was up for an award at the 2012 show for “The Living Proof” from the film, The Help.
Other best original song nominees include Oscar-winning composers. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the husband-and-wife songwriting duo behind “Let It Go” from Frozen, are nominated for “Remember Me” from the film Coco, while Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — who earned an Oscar this year for “City of Stars” from La La Land, are up for “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman.
Greenwood earned a nomination for best original score for Phantom Thread. Other nominees include Hans Zimmer for Dunkirk, Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water, Carter Burwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and John Williams for The Post.
The 75th annual Golden Globes will air live on January 7, 2018.