Eminem's surprise performance of "Lose Yourself" at the Oscars didn't just liven up a sleepy show that was the lowest-rated in Oscars history, it also spawned a bunch of mildly amusing Billie Eilish and Martin Scorsese memes and begged a bigger question: Why now?
Aside from having a new album to promote, many viewers wondered why the veteran rapper was tapped to perform "Lose Yourself" at the Oscars 17 years after it won Best Original Song for 2002's 8 Mile.
Thankfully, the Detroit-bred rapper opened up to Variety about how he ended up doing the buzziest performance of the night--aside from Joaquin Phoenix's rambling, cow insemination-referencing Best Actor acceptance speech, of course.
Eminem revealed that back in 2003, he had no expectation of winning an award, and didn't even watch the show because he had to get up early to take his daughter to school. “I think I was just at home with my daughter--and I didn’t watch it, either. At that point in time, Hailie had to be at school early in the morning, so I was sleeping.”
After Barbra Streisand announced Eminem as the winner, Em's collaborator Luis Resto accepted the Oscar in his place. “That to me shows how authentic and real that award is--when you don’t show up and you still win," he said.
“I never even thought that I had a chance to win. 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.”
So this year, since they Oscars ended a soundtrack homage with an 8 Mile shout-out, they reached out to Eminem to see if he’d like to perform "Lose Yourself." He accepted and they kept it under wraps by rehearsing at a secret location one week before the ceremony.
“It was cool because we just put out an album [Music to Be Murdered By], so we said, 'maybe that’ll make sense with the timing.'”