Is there anything the Black Mamba can’t do? Kobe Bryant can now add an Oscar nomination to his collection of five (count ’em) NBA championship rings. The basketball juggernaut earned a nod from the Academy for the animated short, Dear Basketball. Penned by Bryant, and in collaboration with Glen Keane and composer John Williams, Dear Basketball is based on the poem the All-Star wrote to announce his retirement from the L.A. Lakers during the 2015-2016 season.
And from the start of the project, Bryant made it crystal clear that he wanted to create something timeless. Keane hand-drew all of the illustrations for the film— he’s noted for his work on The Little Mermaid. Williams is responsible for the film’s classical score, which was of the utmost importance to Bryant. “I don’t want it to be poppy, I don’t want it to be hip-hoppy. I want timeless, classical music,” Bryant explained in an interview with The L.A. Times.
It’s clear that such meticulousness paid off. Bryant shared his excitement Tuesday morning, as the 2018 Oscar nominees were announced:
Bryant, Keane and Williams join an exciting roster of Oscar nominees. This year alone, Mary J. Blige earns her first Academy nomination for her supporting role in Mudbound. The gorgeously animated Pixar film, Coco is up for Best Animated Feature. And to the excitement of everyone who’s banished someone to the sunken place last year, Jordan Peele’s 2017 cult phenom Get Out is up for four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Original Screenplay, Best Director, as well as a Best Actor nod for the film’s leading man, Daniel Kaluuya.
With all this Black excellence, opulence, decadence at the helm, make sure to tune into the Academy Awards live on March 4. Until then, check out Bryant’s Oscar-nominated Dear Basketball here.