Why Eminem Skipped the 2003 Oscars Where 'Lose Yourself' Won

Eminem shocked audiences at the 92nd Academy Awards in February 2020 when he took the stage to perform "Lose Yourself." It was 17 years in the making since he missed the 2003 Oscars ceremony when the track won Best Original Song. In an interview after that famous ceremony, the rapper explained why he missed the chance to pick up a statue from Barbra Streisand. Co-writer Luis Resto picked up the Oscar in Eminem's place.

The rapper told Variety he missed the show in 2003 because he never thought the 8 Mile song would win an Oscar. After all, it was up against the stiff competition. U2's "The Hands That Built America" from Gangs of New York, Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter" from The Wild Thornberrys Movie, "Burn It Blue" from Frida, and "I Move On" from that year's Best Picture winner Chicago were also nominated.

"I kinda figured maybe since I didn't get a chance to do it at the time, maybe it would be cool," Eminem said when asked how the surprise performance happened. "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!'" Eminem continued. "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."

He went on to admit he was disappointed he missed the Oscars in 2003 and was "blown back" by his win. "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," he said, adding that it would have been "crazy" to accept an award from Streisand.

Eminem said he likely spent the night of the 2003 Oscars at home with his daughter, Hailie Jade Mathers. He also shot down rumors he refused to perform a censored version of "Lose Yourself."

While "Lose Yourself" has gone on to become Eminem's signature song and 8 Mile helped cement his status as a star, he never acted in a movie again, aside from shot appearances as himself in movies and TV shows. He told Variety he might be interested in acting again, "if the right script comes along and it's something that fits with my schedule."

As for 8 Mile, Eminem said he mostly enjoyed making the semi-autobiographical film. "There was a lot of stuff that was not, um... It was a lot of work, and it being my first film I was not really expecting that," he explained. "And it's tough when you've got to be on someone else's schedule, with the way that I work. But yeah, I'm certainly glad that I did it, and there were parts that were definitely fun, it was just a lot." Eminem's most recent album, Music to be Murdered By, was released in January 2020 without notice, just like his 2020 Oscars appearance.