Kendrick Lamar.
Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella

Assuming things go the way most Oscar observers are expecting, “Shallow,” the Lady Gaga–Bradley Cooper off-the-deep-end duet from A Star Is Born, will win this year’s Academy Award for Best Original song. If and when that happens, it will mark only the fourth time in this young century that a bona fide hit song has received that gold statuette.

Actually, if the nominee widely seen as the stiffest competition “Shallow” faces, “All the Stars,” co-recorded and co-written by Kendrick Lamar for the Black Panther soundtrack, wins instead, it would achieve the same distinction. “All the Stars” peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Black Panther soundtrack spent three nonconsecutive weeks as the No. 1 album in America, while “Shallow” peaked at No. 5, and A Star Is Born held onto the No. 1 album slot for three straight weeks last fall. Both of these songs qualify as mainstream hits. The last time a best song met similar criteria was in 2014, when the smash“Let It Go” from Frozen iced out (sorry) all the other original song contenders. On just two other occasions since the nonexistent Y2K crisis has a top ten pop song walked away with the original song Oscar: in 2013, when Adele’s James Bond theme “Skyfall” did it, and all the way back in 2003, when Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” did.

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