He was then speechless, trying to recall what he was doing when he got the news.
"Man, I'm sorry, I don't know," he said.
Pharrell, U2, Karen O Score Oscar Nominations
Pharrell was writing a "thank you" speech to radio stations for playing the upbeat song, which jumped 42 spots to No. 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week. The song is a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, France, Germany and Switzerland.
The Oscar nomination is another highlight in his massively successful year: He was the producer of two of 2013's biggest anthems — Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." Both songs are nominated for record of the year and best pop duo/group performance at the Grammy Awards.
The 40-year-old has seven nominations, tied in second place with Daft Punk, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar. Jay Z, the Grammy leader, has nine nominations.
He's also up for producer of the year and has two nominations for album of the year for producing on Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar's albums.
He said the success of "Happy" nicely ties in all of his achievements, adding that he was meticulous about getting the song right — recording it nine times before nailing it.
His competition for the Oscar includes U2's "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which won a Golden Globe, and the Top 40 hit "Let It Go" from the "Frozen" soundtrack. Other nominees are "The Moon Song" by Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for Spike Jonze's "Her" and "Alone Not Yet Alone" by Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiege.
"I used to stare at the TV as a child watching your actors and favorite actresses take it home," he said of attending the Oscars. "That's where Jack Nicholson stands or the guy that I look up to majorly, Wes Anderson. That's where his work is considered. I cannot believe we get to go."
Pharrell has produced hits for Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z. He's in the studio working with Ed Sheeran, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Kendrick Lamar and Jennifer Nettles, and scoring the upcoming "Spider-Man" film with Hans Zimmer. He recently signed with Columbia Records — home to Beyonce, Adele and One Direction — and will release an album this year.
Grammy Awards 2014: Full Nominations List
"It's some of my best work and that's because in the process I made it with my eyes closed," he said. "That's not a reflection of any sort of superiority in any way, shape or form. I didn't do a lot of looking around to try and figure it out. I just closed my eyes and made it by feeling it and I think that's why I am most proud of it."
Pharrell will open for Bruno Mars' tour, which will kick off April 18 in Honolulu.
"Can't wait to go out and make a cool moment with the ladies on the road," he said.
The Grammys will be presented Jan. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Academy Awards will air March 2 from the Dolby Theatre in the Hollywood.