Thousands of people, including Idina Menzeland Billie Eilish, had the same exact question the curtains pulled back and revealed the rapper and band on the Dolby Theater stage. For one, he wasn’t included on the list of performers provided by the Academy, and two, he wasn’t even nominated at that night’s show.
But, some people quickly put two and two together and realized he was invited back since he never got to perform when he won Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself” in 2002. “Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity… Thanks for having me
@TheAcademy. Sorry it took me 18 years to get here,” he tweeted.
With that answered, fans then marveled at how the Academy and Eminem managed to keep his performance a secret and why.
Indeed, it was relatively easy to keep it under wraps considering no one expected the star to perform in the first place. Nonetheless, Mathers, who talked to Variety, said they still took extra measures to ensure everyone was shocked when they saw him on the stage. “We flew in [to Los Angeles] last week, so we probably have four or five rehearsals just to make sure we got everything right,” the artist shared. “Most of the rehearsals were offsite, not in [the Dolby Theater], just trying to keep it secret.”
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As for why they wanted this to be so top-secret, the 47-year-old explained it was suggested by either his publicist or someone from the Academy, so he went along with it because he thought it was a “kinda dope” idea.
Judging by the shocked faces and thousands of tweets, the team pulled off what it hoped to achieve and more. Plus, the rapper said he was very pleased to attend the show since it meant he got a hug from Salma Hayak.
His interview also gave him the opportunity to clear up any rumors surrounding his absence from the 2002, where he would’ve been presented with an Oscar by Barbra Streisand. He revealed that he didn’t do it because they wanted to censor the song, as some have speculated, he said it was more because he didn’t think he’d win and he’d already performed the song at the Grammys that year. So he stayed home with daughter Hailie Jade and went to bed, not even bothering to watch the ceremony.
“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 reasoned. This made it an even bigger shock when he learned over the phone that his song was the first hip-hop track to win Best Original Song at the Oscars.
In the 24-hours since the performance, Eminem’s music has returned to the charts and increased interest in 8 Mile, leading some to wonder if he’s ready to get back into acting. In response, he said, “If the right script comes along and it’s something that fits with my schedule I might take another dive in it.”