The reason it took Eminem 17 years to perform “Lose Yourself” at the Oscars. You can’t believe it’s true.

Eminem won Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself” in 2003.

Eminem performs "Lose Yourself" at the 92nd Oscars.
Eminem made a surprise appearance at the 92nd annual Academy Awards last night to perform “Lose Yourself,” the track that earned him an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2003. His performance comes nearly two decades after Em ditched the ceremony altogether, and ultimately missed the opportunity to accept the award in person.

On Monday, Variety published an interview with Eminem in which he explained why it took him so long to take the stage and perform his now Oscar-winning song.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Eminem remembers being at home with his daughter Hailie on the night that he won the Oscar. Since his daughter needed to be in school early in the morning, Em says he went to bed, instead of watching the show, and was awoken by his keyboard player and longtime collaborator Luis Resto, who accepted the award in his place.

“I know people were probably like, ‘Who the f— is this guy?’ So he called me, and I remember the phone kept ringing, and I’m like ‘Motherf—, I’m tryin’ to sleep!,'” he recalls. “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.”

Eminem went on to explain why the performance was unannounced prior to it happening. “I don’t know, I think it was either [the Oscars’] idea or Paul and [longtime publicist Dennis Dennehy’s] idea before they brought it to me,” the rapper said. “It was presented to me that way and I said, ‘Oh that’s kinda dope, to not even announce it.'”

When asked if Eminem would be down to work on another movie down the line, he responded in the affirmative. “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,” he said. He went on to say that he both did and didn’t enjoy working on 8 Mile. “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,” Em said. “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.”

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