Eminem: How the Oscars Kept That 'Lose Yourself' Surprise a Secret

In today's age of social media, it's not easy for a secret to kept, especially when it concerns something as big as the Academy Awards and a celebrity of Eminem's stature. So when the Oscars were able to keep his surprise performance of "Lose Yourself" under wraps, it's truly a testament to the measures they took to ensure it packed the punch they wanted it to.

During the award show, viewers both at home and in attendance were left stunned as the opening to the hit song from 8 Mile began to play. Then emerged Eminem out onto the stage as he delivered a performance that was long overdue. It was in 2003 when he became the first rapper to win an Oscar for "Lose Yourself."

He did not perform it that year, nor did he attend the ceremony to accept his award. Fast forward 17 years and a lot of planning, and you get a moment like Sunday.

"Really, up until 48 hours before, I think maybe six people knew," revealed Robert Mills, Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night Programming at ABC, in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. "The Academy, us at the network, the producers and Eminem's team. And that was really it."

To keep it a secret, Eminem only did one rehearsal with a very select few in attendance. In order for no one outside the stage area to overhear the iconic soundtrack, the band played "You Should Be Dancing" by The Bee Gees as a cover, according to Mills. The rehearsal was told to others to be a tribute to Saturday Night Fever.

The "'Till I Collapse" singer also made it known he wanted it to kept secret, as well.

"I can't say for sure, I think it was really a testament to the producers... who had promised this would be done in the way he would want to do it -- a salute to the number," Mills said. "He's going to get to perform it on the biggest stage and we'll make sure to keep it secret. There was a real trust factor there."


Mills did add that he never was informed by Eminem why he chose now -- 17 years later -- to perform the Oscar-winning song. After his performance, Eminem sent out a tweet thanking the Academy for their hardwork in setting it up.