Among the many first-time Academy Award nominees this year is Justin Timberlake, who’s up for the Best Original Song prize at tonight’s ceremony. The singer is representing the animated “Trolls” with “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” which was released last May and went on to become the highest-selling single of 2016. According to some number-crunching at the New York Times, the song’s popularity may very well help it take home a trophy.
Starting with the imperfect metric of YouTube views — imperfect because the website has only existed since 2005 — the NYT report notes that, since 1990, the song with the highest number of views has won 46% of the time. The calculus gets more nuanced from there, accounting for the fact that songs taken from musicals and animated pictures tend to have statistical advantages as well.
On paper, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” maintains a leg up on its competition, which is nevertheless formidable: “La La Land” has triumphed at the precursor awards, while Lin-Manuel Miranda (who composed “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”) is a force of nature unto himself. Read the full report here.