Why Eminem finally performed “Lose Yourself” at the 2020 Oscars

Ocars 2020 viewers who had a surprise appearance by Eminem on their bingo cards just cashed in: The rapper performed his Oscar-winning song of 2003 “Lose Yourself” during the 92nd annual Academy Awards, shocking viewers and attendees alike.

8 Mile is celebrating its 18th anniversary this year, but there were no hints or clues as to why the Grammy winner was in attendance until he addressed it himself on Twitter. Directly after the performance, Eminem wrote a statement alongside a clip of his “Lose Yourself” win nearly two decades earlier.

“Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity… Thanks for having me @TheAcademy. Sorry it took me 18 years to get here,” he wrote.

After Lin-Manuel Miranda introduced a clip package celebrating the use of pop music in films—with The Breakfast Club, Rocky III, Almost Famous, Hustle & Flow, Ghost, and Do the Right Thing among the featured movies—Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, rose from the floor to perform his 8 Mile track.

Immediately after the segment, Eminem tweeted footage from the 2003 Oscar ceremony, when ”Lose Yourself” won best original song without the rapper in attendance.”

He also later posted a photo with Elton John, with whom he famously performed “Stan” at the 2001 Grammys. (John won best original song on Sunday night for his Rocketman track.)

As Vanity Fair noted in our Oscar live blog, the Eminem performance was kept top secret until the moment he appeared on stage; the segment was even left off the run-of-show documents distributed to the crew. (It was noted by the phrase “Omit Item.”)

Unsurprisingly, the crowd of stars was left stunned by Eminem’s appearance, with Idina Menzel, Gal Gadot, and Anthony Ramos among those shown feeling the beat of the track.

In an interview posted by Variety on Monday, Eminem said his failure to attend the 2003 Oscars ceremony played a part in his performance. “I kinda figured maybe since I didn’t get a chance to do it at the time, maybe it would be cool,” he said. “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.”

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