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This Year's Oscar-Nominated Songs: The Most Actual Hits Since 1998

Image courtesy of Paul Drinkwater/NBC (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Paul Drinkwater/NBC (via ABC News Radio)

Back in the '70s and '80s, the songs nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar were often massive hits, but in recent years, that's become less frequent.  However, this year seems to be a banner one: out of the four nominated songs, three of them have reached the Billboard Hot 100.   The last time that happened was 1998.

U2 's "Ordinary Love," the nominated song from the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom , had debuted at #99 on the Billboard Hot 100.  "Happy," the Pharrell Williams song from Despicable Me 2 , is #1, while "Let It Go," from Frozen , is #18.  Actually, that's just the version sung by Idina Menzel ; another version by Demi Lovato , which plays over the end credits of the film, is at #61.  Only "The Moon Song," from the movie Her, has failed to chart.

Back in 1998, the three nominated songs that had been hits were Celine Dion 's "My Heart Will Go On," from Titanic ; Trisha Yearwood 's version of "How Do I Live," from Con Air, and Michael Bolton 's "Go the Distance," from Hercules.

And here's another interesting fact about "Happy": According to Yahoo! Chart Watch , it marks that the first time that a black artist has topped the chart as a lead artist since December of 2012, when Rihanna did it with "Diamonds."  It sounds unbelievable, but 2013 was the first year since the Billboard Hot 100 chart was introduced in 1958 that no black artists as lead artists reached #1.

This year, things are different: four out of the top five hits on the current chart are by black artists.  In addition to Pharrell , there's Jason Derulo , John Legend and, of course, Beyonce.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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