When it comes to soundtrack songs, it doesn’t get anymore classic than Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself.” The song from the film 8 Mile was a huge hit, even by Eminem’s superstar standards: it was his first Billboard Hot 100 single, stayed there for 12 weeks in a row, and was the first hip-hop song to win the Academy Awards’ Best Original Song. After making history 17 years ago, Eminem surprised Oscars viewers with an unannounced performance of the song on Sunday (Feb. 9).
The performance was preceded by a speech that saw Lin Manuel Miranda paying homage to “examples where a song has transformed a film, and where a film has transformed a song.” A montage showed clips from Risky Business, Hustle & Flow, Purple Rain and more, before ending with a clip from 8 Mile that showed Eminem’s character B. Rabbit pulling up in his car and walking toward the hallway before the film’s climactic final battle. Then, to viewers’ surprise, Eminem took the stage to perform “Lose Yourself” with a live band.
The performance took social media off-guard – the song “Lose Yourself” or the award ceremony that gave the award aren’t celebrating any particular anniversaries, and Eminem wasn’t announced to appearing at the show. But that didn’t stop Em from giving a pinpoint performance of the song – which is largely seen as the best in his career – or from members of the audience from singing along.
— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) February 10, 2020
After the performance, Eminem posted a video from the 2003 Academy Awards that saw Bette Midler announcing “Lose Yourself” as the winner for Best Original Song; Eminem didn’t show up to the ceremony that year, so collaborator Luis Resto accepted the award in his place. “Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity… Thanks for having me @theacademy,” Eminem captioned the photo. “Sorry it took me 18 years to get here.”
Eminem also posted a photo with musical target-turned-friend Elton John, who took home an Oscar himself that night for his and songwriter Bernie Taupin’s “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from the film Rocketman.
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Eminem released his new surprise album, Music To Be Murdered By, in January.