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Pharrell Williams rocked out to “Happy” at the Oscars on Sunday, during which he went into the audience to shimmy — literally — with Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in the front row.
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With a black version of his now-signature Vivienne Westwood hat, Williams crossed the stage in a track jacket, jeans and bright-red sneakers. As revealed during his earlier rehearsals, a choir of high school students and 20 professional dancers accompanied him on the Dolby Theatre stage.
Williams’ Despicable Me 2 track is nominated for best original song against U2’s “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Karen O‘s “The Moon Song” from Her, written with Spike Jonze; and “Let It Go” by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez from Frozen. If Williams wins, he will be the third-ever rapper to receive an Oscar, following Eminem for “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile and Three Six Mafia for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from Hustle & Flow.
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Besides being a song “‘about Gru and being happy and this relentless mood that can’t be changed,'” as Williams told Billboard of the track, “Happy” is also featured on Williams’ latest album, GIRL, which officially hits shelves March 3 — though it has been available to stream via iTunes Radio for the past week. GIRL is Williams’ first album release in eight years.
Williams also released the first-ever 24-hour music video for the song, which features guest spots from Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, along with Steve Martin, Steve Carell and more. The interface for the video, found on the website 24hoursofhappy.com, sets the clip at a time corresponding to the local time of the viewer, with the ability to fast-forward, rewind and skip around to different times of the day.
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“Happy” recently became the highest-charting Oscar-nominated song in more than a decade, as it jumped from No. 8 to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the week of Feb. 12. The Despicable Me 2 track currently has the top spot, after eight weeks on the Hot 100. The last Oscar-nominated song to top the Hot 100 was Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which spent 12 weeks at No. 1 in late 2001 and early 2002.
Watch the full performance below.
Clip Courtesy A.M.P.A.S.© 2014
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