What neat feat could Pharrell Williams achieve if “Happy” wins the Oscar for “Despicable Me?”
Should his irrepressible ditty win on Sunday (March 2) night, it will be the first time in Oscar and Billboard history that a song has won the Oscar while sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100.
There”s a simple explanation for this. Because the Academy Award voting cycle spans the calendar year, by the time the Oscar ceremony rolls around in early March, most of the songs have already peaked on the Billboard Hot 100, if they ever charted at all.
In fact, should “Happy” snag the prize, it will be only the 17th Best Original Song winner to have topped the Billboard Hot 100 since the chart bowed in 1958, according to Billboard. The last song to win that reached No. 1? : Eminem”s “Lose Yourself” from 2002″s “8 Mile,” but its chart run was largely over by the time it won.
There was a time when songs from movies weren”t strangers on the chart, especially in the ’70s, when five eventual Oscar recipients hit No. 1 and in the ’80s, when the number soared to seven, the most for any decade. In fact, from 1981 to 1987, each of the winning songs hit No. 1 on Billboard”s Hot 100.
But radio changed, and, perhaps, more importantly, the way the Academy Award voters selected best song nominees changed: instead of considering the song on its own merits, its placement in the film became paramount. For example, we used to see songs that played over end titles routinely nominated, now they seldom are considered.
In order to achieve this noteworthy trivia question, Pharrell”s “Happy” will have to beat “Frozen”s” “Let It Go,” (which is also in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 currently), “Her”s” “The Moon Song,” and “Mandela”s” “Ordinary Love.”
As Pitchfork points out in a fun piece, only one Oscar-winning song has hit No. 1 after the ceremony aired: Maureen McGovern”s “The Morning After” from 1972″s “Poseidon Adventure.”