Why Eminem’s Oscar Performance Had To Make Up For His Absence 18 Years Earlier

Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was the first rap song ever to receive an Oscar and the rapper was supposed to perform it at the 2003 awards ceremony, but didn’t. Last night, nearly 20 years later, he was given a second chance, performing the song with a full orchestra at the 2020 Oscars ceremony and somewhat undermining the song’s urgency. Naturally, while the surprised audience at the awards was fully engaged and seemingly delighted — Billie Eilish notwithstanding — on Twitter, fans seemed confused why Eminem was performing an 18-year-old song when he’d just put an album out.

As it turns out, Eminem had a pretty decent excuse for not performing the song at the 2003 ceremony: He wasn’t there. Despite being nominated for Best Original Song, Em was convinced there was no way the stodgy old Oscars would pick his song to win, so he stayed home. He also reportedly refused to perform the song in a censored version, something that the television delay handled at this year’s ceremony — albeit, pretty poorly. Of course, Eminem underestimated the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — and that “p” word he has that many rappers don’t — because he won the award, which had to be presented to the song’s co-writer Luis Resto.

You can watch the performance above.