Eminem waited 17 years to perform his Oscar-winning song Lose Yourself at the awards ceremony because he didn’t feel like the show would “understand” him back then.
The rapper scooped the Best Original Song title for Lose Yourself, the lead track from his semi-autobiographical movie, 8 Mile, back in 2003. However, he skipped the ceremony that year and instead hit the stage at the 2020 prizegiving on Sunday to deliver a surprise rendition of the tune.
Speaking to Variety about why it took him so long to perform the song at the Oscars, Eminem explained: “I kinda figured maybe since I didn’t get a chance to do it at the time, maybe it would be cool. Back then, I never even thought that I had a chance to win, and we had just performed ‘Lose Yourself’ on the Grammys with the Roots a couple of weeks before the Oscars, so we didn’t think it was a good idea. And also, back at that time, the younger me didn’t really feel like a show like that would understand me.
“But then when I found out I won, ‘That’s crazy!’ That to me shows how authentic and real that award is — when you don’t show up and you still win. That makes it very real to me.”
Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, was actually at home during the 2003 awards, looking after his daughter Hailie, and didn’t even tune in to see if he’d won. Instead, he left it up to his keyboard player and producer Luis Resto to collect the prize for him, admitting: “That was a different time and I was in a different place in my life.’
For Sunday’s performance, Eminem and his band kept it a complete secret, which the rapper confessed was “kinda dope”. And when asked if he enjoyed the Oscars this year, the star replied: “Absolutely. I got to hug Salma Hayek!”