To Get His First Oscar Nod, Justin Timberlake Had To Act Like A Troll

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Justin Timberlake joins Walt Dohrn, Anna Kendrick and director Mike Mitchell in the recording studio during the making of <em>Trolls.</em>

By the time Justin Timberlake began receiving recognition as an actor, he was already a musical megastar, with millions of albums sold on his own and with NSYNC. Now, after memorable appearances in The Social Network and Inside Llewyn Davis, he's landed his first Oscar nomination — for a song.

"Can't Stop the Feeling!" is the peppy disco-pop number that led the promotional campaign for Trolls, the 2016 animated feature in which Timberlake voices a paranoid, joyless troll named Branch. The tune's nomination for Best Original Song came as a happy surprise to the singer/actor, who also executive produced the film's soundtrack.

"I always felt like I would have to write a song about misery and self-loathing to bring out raw emotions to ever have an opportunity to be nominated for an Oscar," he says. "It's serendipitous, but I do feel like the world could use a little bit more of it. It's hard to make a song that actually gets people's asses up and makes 'em dance."

Hear the rest of Timberlake's conversation with NPR's David Greene — including his story of meeting the members of Earth, Wind & Fire in the studio to re-record "September" — at the audio link.

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