Here’s Why Eminem No-Showed the 2003 Oscars When He Won for ‘Lose Yourself’

Eminem made his surprise Oscars debut on Sunday, but didn’t show up in 2003 because he thought he’d never win

Eminem Oscars
Photo credit: Getty Images

In one of the night’s biggest surprises, Eminem showed up at the Academy Awards on Sunday for the first time ever to perform “Lose Yourself,” the song from “8 Mile” that won him a Best Original Song Oscar in 2003. It was especially a surprise because 17 years ago, he was nowhere to be seen when he won.

While the Oscars are known for nominees in the Best Original Song field performing their songs to spice up the broadcast, Eminem no-showed the event completely, staying home in Detroit and leaving his longtime friend and producer Luis Resto to accept the award.

But it wasn’t because he hated the hoity-toity Academy. He just thought he wasn’t going to win. In fact, in an interview with “Behind the Boards” back in 2007, Eminem said that he didn’t even know he could get nominated for an Oscar in the first place.

“I just felt like I had no chance of winning because, you know, when I heard I was nominated, I thought that was for actors,” he said.  I was not sure what exactly Grammy or Oscar meant, what certain awards meant, I was not sure what they meant, so even MTV awards, all that stuff, I just didn’t know what awards meant and this particular award…I didn’t go to the show… I just felt like I had a snowball’s chance of hell of winning.”

“At that point, in my life I always thought like rap never gets as fair shake on anything. That was one of the reasons I didn’t go for the first Grammys I was invited to, because I pretty much protested it. I didn’t understand why there was a rap category and best album category and I couldn’t understand why rap album can not be in the best album category.”

After leaving the Oscar stage on Sunday, Eminem sent out a tweet thanking the Oscars for inviting him that included a video of Resto accepting the “Lose Yourself” Oscar on his behalf.