Eminem performed at the Oscars because he thought ‘maybe it would be cool’

Eminem performs during the live ABC telecast of the 92nd Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre in Holl...

I was like everybody else on Oscar night: absolutely shocked to see Eminem on stage, performing “Lose Yourself,” his Oscar-winning song from 8 Mile, the mostly autobiographical film directed by Curtis Hanson. Since I’m old, I remember so much about the promotion around 8 Mile and how Em basically had to go to Actor Bootcamp, and how he tried to watch a lot of Curtis Hanson films and Kim Basinger films (Basinger played his mom). I remember that he ended up a huge fan of Hanson’s LA Confidential (which is a really good movie). I remember that he, like, dated Basinger? And he became close to Brittany Murphy too. And of course, I remember that Eminem didn’t go to the Oscars the year he won. I don’t think anyone told him that he was actually the odds-on favorite to win Best Song. So Em never got his moment on the Oscar stage, either as a performer or with the Oscar statuette. In recent years, Eminem has chilled out a lot too – maybe winning an Oscar always meant something to him, but it definitely means more to him now. So maybe that’s why he decided to perform “Lose Yourself” eighteen years after the film was released. Eminem gave his sole interview about the performance to Variety, and you can read it here. Some highlights:

How his 2020 Oscar performance came together: “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.

How he felt when he learned that he won in absentia in 2003: “I don’t know that I was disappointed, I was blown back by the fact that I won. I don’t even think I understood back then that you could get an Oscar for a song, and I remember being kinda confused about why I was even up for one, because as a kid with the Oscars, it was like a vacuum….

Whether they offered him a chance to perform in 2003: “I think they did — yes, [longtime manager Paul Rosenberg] just said they did. He just said they even discussed having someone else perform it, because back then every nominated song had a performer.

Whether he enjoyed going this year: “Absolutely. I got to hug Salma Hayek!

The Oscar producers just asked him to come this year and he said yes: “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…We flew in [to Los Angeles] last week, so we probably have four or five rehearsals just to make sure we got everything right. Most of the rehearsals were offsite, not in [the Dolby Theater], just trying to keep it secret. I don’t know [why it was a secret], I think it was either [the Oscars’] idea or Paul and [longtime publicist Dennis Dennehy’s] idea before they brought it to me. It was presented to me that way and I said, “Oh that’s kinda dope, to not even announce it.”

Whether he would act again: “Um… I’m not gonna say I don’t, because if the right script comes along and it’s something that fits with my schedule I might take another dive in it.

Why he thinks more artists haven’t dissed Donald Trump: “In the hip-hop world, there’s definitely some people that have gone at him. But I kinda feel that I’ve said what I had to say and people know where I stand on it, so … [dead silence, publicist wraps up call].

[From Variety]

That last part is kind of dumb, because when Eminem gives his increasingly rare interviews, he speaks with a lot of insight and intelligence on American politics and Trump in particular. Em has said in recent years that he really, really wants Trump to say something about him or tweet about him because that will give him (Em) the chance to completely unload. I say, let Eminem be Eminem. Don’t let the publicists shush him. Anyway, I know Em isn’t everybody’s favorite (he isn’t mine either), but I love the weird whimsy of this – he didn’t really have a reason for performing at the Oscars this year other than “he thought it would be cool” and “they asked him.” I still wonder if he talked to Elton John about it – they’re reportedly still quite close, and Elton performed (and won) as well.

Salma Hayek-Pinault hugs Eminem backstage during the live ABC Telecast of The 92nd Oscars® at the D...

Rickey Minor's All-Star Band and Eminem perform during the live ABC telecast of the 92nd Oscars®...

Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

31 Responses to “Eminem performed at the Oscars because he thought ‘maybe it would be cool’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Lucy says:

    I loved seeing him. At first it was a bit surreal, much like when Prince showed up at the Golden Globes out of nowhere. But it was a really good performance.

    • Snappyfish says:

      I agree!! It was the best part of the night. I sang along (& it seemed so did a lot in the Oscar Audience) it was fun & a great surprise. I actually like EM a great deal. How he has dealt w/mental illness & addiction & how he is a really good father to his daughter & her sisters (who aren’t his) He has come a long way.

      Oh & LA Confidential is a great movie. One of my all time favorites. If you haven’t see it do yourself a favor.

  2. HufflepuffLizLemon says:

    This is my problematic fave. I love many of his songs, but struggle with the strong overt misogyny that’s always been a feature. He puts on an incredible live show.
    The new album and Revival both have some beautiful songs. I especially love Nowhere Fast on Revival. Haunting-just like Headlights was on MMLP2.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      I dont find him to be more misogynist than any other rapper though. That’s an issue in rap in general.

      • Kelly says:

        I don’t know any other rappers that rap about murdering their daughter’s mom, screams and drowning sounds included.

        The song is “Kim”. Listen with caution. It’s one thing to hear a rapper talking about smacking asses. It’s another to hear them fantasize about murdering women in gruesome detail.

      • Oh_dear says:

        He’s also said he regrets some of those songs, Kim included. I skip the songs of his I don’t like but I do like many of them. I appreciate his reflections on his life and his music and his social commentary, even when some of it is through his Slim Shady character. I also understand that he grew up in battle rap and likes horrorcore rap, which both shape his content and delivery on those songs. I don’t enjoy them but they don’t shape my view of his talent and the rest of his music.

      • Kelly says:


        I know he’s said he regrets them, and I’m aware the early ’00s were a very different time, but no matter what he does I simply can’t overlook the fact he composed a song like that and decided to put it out in the world. This is his daughter’s mother, and Im sure that song didn’t compose itself on a whim, and it wasn’t the only song either. It was his “thing”.

        I think he’s very talented and unique at what he does but I simply can’t look at him the same way now.

      • Amy Too says:

        Kim is one of the problematic songs. But that came out in 1999 I think? And Stan was a sort of follow up to that, I think. Where Eminem is talking about how his songs are metaphors, they’re not real, they’re not to be taken literally, and they shouldn’t be “inspiration.” I think what’s so interesting about Eminem, is that a lot of his songs are him acting as his alter ego/persona. They’re not autobiographical. They’re not him. They’re uncomfortable and they’re problematic and they’re gross, but they’re also social commentary and they force you to think about/hear the dark and disturbing things that people think about sometimes in their head and would never admit to. I think he’s able to release a lot of aggression and work through a lot of emotionally violent and traumatizing things through his music.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        I just now listened to that Kim song. Somebody above said they know the 00s were a different time, but I’m here right now to say that if I’d listened to that shit any other time, in any decade (well it wouldn’t have been made way back lol) I’d have never backed its author. I’m sure he has regrets, but any person who can pen those words, scream them over and over and over while “perfecting” something resembling what’s in his head musically and lyrically is frightening. And this is coming from someone who adores Rob Zombie. That wasn’t a song. And it made me feel awful.

        I have heard his other songs and always thought that lyrically, he had musical genius in him, but I do hope he carries much shame for such a mistake in judgement.

      • Kelly says:


        Exactly. I’m sorry, but I have a hard time believing his intent was really to “shock” me and to “make me think critically” about femicide with that song. He continuously trashed this woman (and his mother). He wrote lots of lyrics trashing other female celebrities. This wasn’t some woke feminist ally writing a shocking art piece to spread awareness about femicide. It was a man with serious, SERIOUS issues about women fantasizing about murder.

        Once again I can understand if people appreciate his talent, but his rampant misogynist lyrics should not be minimized to “that’s just hip hop” and “he said he regrets it”. He was an adult man when he wrote that and, well, I sound like a broken record at this point but those weren’t just any lyrics. Smacking asses, calling women sluts, rapping about strippers… it’s gross, but that’s something I can attribute to the time and hip hop culture. Femicide is something else.

        And Stan lyrically had nothing to do with Kim… “Stan” was a fictional character. Kim was the real mother of his kids.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @Kelly Ive been listening to Em for years. I am well acquainted with the song Kim. Is it disturbing? Yup. That was the point of it.
        And if you think Em’s was somehow more misogynist or violent than other rapper’s I highly suggest listening to more rap music. Because that’s simply not the case.

    • Amy Too says:

      Same. I’ve just always loved him and I enjoy his love for Detroit (I’m from Michigan) and the fact that he still lives there. I like his politics and the growth he’s exhibited as a person, I like that he seems super smart, his lyrics are often brilliant—as an English major, I appreciate how poetic and complex they can be. He seems like a real person to me who has had real struggles and has done some very screwed up stuff, but is trying to grow and do better and break the cycle for his girls.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        I agree and I think that’s why I like him. He’s been open about his mistakes and his regrets. And the way he has lives his life speaks volumes about him as a man (especially when it comes to his kids) And he’s a lyrical genius and a definite GOAT.

      • K-Peace says:

        I love Eminem and like you said, he has grown a lot as a person. He had a very bad upbringing and has battled a lot of demons which he seems to have overcome; he’s extremely smart; he’s remained loyal to his hometown; and most importantly he’s by all accounts an excellent father to his daughters—which shows that he’s a decent man.

      • Hoot says:

        Amy Too – Your commentary is excellent and I agree. He worked through a lot of hell in his life, has matured, and grown into a supportive father to his daughter, Hailie, and two adopted daughters (Kim’s from previous relationships). He maintains a decent relationship with Kim, still, and he has provided for the women in his life, giving them a foundation they otherwise would not have had.
        Hailie graduated Summa Cum Laude from high school, and she was on the dean’s list at Michigan State University where she graduated from in 2018. He (and Kim) obviously passed on some good genes. The other two daughters, from what I’ve read, are good people, too.

  3. Tila says:

    That beard is terrible. Can’t believe I used to have a huge crush on him.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      I still think he’s a cutie. 🤷🏽‍♀️

    • RogerOThornhill says:

      Yeah, he’s gotta lose that, that with his pale complexion he reminds of David Gest. And it’s disturbing.

      I’m expecting a tipsy Liza Minelli to jump out and start throwing heels at him or something.

    • Marigold says:

      I dunno. I think it’s awesome. I just generally like beards, though. /shrug

  4. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I love Em. Always have.

  5. smcollins says:

    I thought it was as a pleasant little surprise and gave the show a much needed shot of adrenaline at its midway point.

  6. SarahSarah says:

    I thought that picture was of Chris Evans

  7. ME says:

    How time flies. I remember when his daughter was just a little girl…she’s now a U of M Grad ! Insane.

  8. Sass says:

    I mean, fair enough?

  9. Kelly says:

    I appreciate that he’s toned down his act because his misogyny and homophobia were really rampant, even by hip hop standards.

    I thought his show came out of nowhere and felt unnecessary and too… VMA-ish?

  10. Scollins says:

    Nice to see here so many others who appreciate Em.

  11. Ash says:

    I like this interview. I know he’s had some problematic lyrics, his love/hate relationship with Kim Mathers being the worst. He’s also come forward to speak out about his regrets and continues to change things up. His music is so clever and unique. I hope he and Kim are able to make peace with each other if they haven’t already. He seems a lot calmer in his personal life than he was as a younger guy, and he’s still very talented and continues to release great tracks.

  12. No Doubt says:

    He has come a long way. I enjoyed the performance, it’s one of his best songs.

  13. SM says:

    Notice how Salma has her hand inside his jacket.

  14. Marigold says:

    He started in a place of extreme anger and crippling addiction, and his music reflected that. I don’t excuse it by any means, but his lyrics have always come from a deep, visceral, and honest place. He was not a violent man, but his mind was full of violence, and he literally just spewed it all out in his music. It was tragic, and so many people–across every identity group in the nation–found their own scary, unspoken thoughts and struggles in his music.

    And then there is his phenomenal talent and developed skill.

    He has grown up. He has–both publicly and privately–attempted to make amends to those he’s hurt. He has apologized to groups and to individuals for past mistakes. He’s gotten sober and stayed that way. His life is remarkable in a lot of ways, and so is his personal growth. In a generation that likes to cancel people forever for failing and falling short, which is human, Mr. Mathers is one that lots of people would choose to write off. And I get it. I have no quarrel with that. I just think it’s short-sighted.

    He is a stunning talent and he is someone who came from ugly, dark demons and made something cleaner, brighter, and humbler of himself. He actually learned from his mistakes, and that’s pretty freaking rare. He didn’t double down; he changed. That’s laudable. As for the art, he has done nothing but reach higher and push boundaries, and as an “old man” in the industry, he is still making people’s jaws drop at what he can produce.

  15. Naddie says:

    I read in so many places that women’s look humanize men, when men do the opposite. It’s very noble from ladies here to ackowledge his growth, but I just don’t believe that big mysogynists can change that much. I don’t think he should be cancelled, but as a woman I choose to remain suspicious about him.