Eminem surprised everyone watching the 2020 Academy Awards when he appeared on the stage to perform a rendition of "Lose Yourself," marking his first time making an appearance at the prestigious event. Back in 2003, Eminem famously skipped showing up at the Oscars, even though "Lose Yourself" was named by the Academy as the winner for Best Original Song. Perhaps making up for the lost opportunity, the popular rapper finally took to the stage this week and gave the Oscars crowd the live performance they should have gotten 17 years ago, and now he's shedding some light on how the big surprise came to be.

Speaking in a new interview with Variety, Eminem first touched on his decision to skip the Oscars so many years ago. The rapper insists there was no malice behind the no-show, and he didn't go mostly because he didn't expect to win, nor did he feel like he belonged there at the time. From the interview, here's how Eminem explains missing the 75th Academy Awards show in 2003.

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"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."

Apparently, Eminem was so sure he wasn't going to win at the Oscars that he didn't even watch the program. Because he was caring for his young daughter at the time, Eminem says he was sleeping when he was named the winner. He also recalls being woken up by his keyboard player, Luis Resto, who accepted the award on Eminem's behalf.

"So he called me, and I remember the phone kept ringing, and I'm like 'Motherf-, I'm tryin' to sleep!' But [I answered] and he's like 'Hey man, you won!' 'I did? Sh-! Cool!' But that was a different time and I was in a different place in my life."

In any case, Eminem missed the event, and never appeared at any subsequent The Academy Awards shows either. However, the opportunity to fix the situation came along with the rapper's surprise appearance at this year's ceremony, and how the appearance came to be was a result of good timing. Because 8 Mile was featured in an Oscars montage, reps from the Oscars reached out to Eminem about performing, and because he had just released an all-new album which could use some promotion, appearing at the Oscars seemed to be a win-win for everyone. As Eminem explains:

"I think that's pretty much how it went. And it was cool because we just put out an album, so we said maybe that'll make sense with the timing of the new album."

However it happened, Eminem's surprise appearance at the Oscars was 17 years in the making and certainly long overdue. It also happened to be one of the most shocking moments in a night filled with surprises. Time will tell if Eminem ever dips back into movie work and gets another Academy Award nomination, but it's a safe bet he's likely to show up the next time he's invited. This news comes to us from Variety.

Jeremy Dick at Movieweb
Jeremy Dick