(February 10, 2020). By many accounts, “Lose Yourself” is still one of legendary rapper Eminem’s best tracks, if not the best.
But even that didn’t begin to explain why the rap icon was performing it at the Oscars 17 years after it took Best Original Song at these same awards in 2003.
Capping what was touted as a montaged medley of past movie soundtrack greats like “I Will Always Love You” from The Bodyguard, “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future, “Footloose” from Footloose, and “Dueling Banjos” from Deliverance, among many other classics, 47-year-old Eminem emerged on the stage with a surprise live performance of his biggest chart hit – it spent 12 weeks at No. 1 in 2002/03 – and the otherwise stoic crowd went bananas.
Or, at least as bananas as you would expect an Oscars crowd to go.
Several of the stars in the audience, many of whom would have been teenagers or young adults when “Lose Yourself” was first popular, were seen mouthing the lyrics as Em rapped. Others – like the young singer Billie Eilish, who wasn’t even a year old when the song and the movie 8 Mile from which it came were released; or famed director Martin Scorsese, who was like 60 even then – seemed perplexed.
Many were probably wondering, as I was, why Eminem, who was unannounced, was singing a 17-year-old song at this year’s awards. It only became clear afterwards when Em took to Twitter stating, “Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity…Thanks for having me @TheAcademy. Sorry it took me 18 years to get here.”
Besides being a play on the opening lines to “Lose Yourself,” the tweet was a reminder that the legend – who wasn’t a legend yet in 2003 – didn’t attend that year’s ceremony to either perform the tune or accept the Best Song award when Barbra Streisand presented it (the video of which was included in Em’s tweet).
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In an interesting bit of irony, the artist with whom Eminem has forged an unlikely, but longstanding friendship – Sir Elton John – was on hand to both perform and accept this year’s Best Song award for his “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the fellow icon’s own biopic, Rocketman.
In the end, both Eminem and Sir Elton received standing O’s for their performances.
Just check out some of these tweeted reactions to Eminem’s performance. And then catch a glimpse of the performance in the video below.
DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.
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