XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
March 23, 2003: Eminem achieved a major milestone on this day in 2003 by becoming the first hip-hop artist to win an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 2003 Academy Awards.
The Detroit rhymer won for his song “Lose Yourself,” which was featured over the closing credits of 8 Mile, the 2002 semi-biopic about Em’s life. In the same category, “Lose Yourself” was up against “I Move On” from Chicago, “Burn It Blue” from Frida, “The Hands that Build America” from Gangs of New York and “Father and Daughter” from The Wild Thornberrys Movie.
As a surprise winner of the night, Detroit songwriter-musician Luis Resto, who co-wrote “Lose Yourself” with Em, accepted the award on the behalf of Eminem who slept through the Hollywood ceremony at his home and wasn’t there to accept his golden statue.
“I was blown back by the fact that I won,” he explained to Variety in February of 2020 about his no-show.
“I don’t even think I understood back then that you could get an Oscar for a song, and I remember being kinda confused about why I was even up for one, because as a kid with the Oscars, it was like a vacuum.”
Eminem added that he didn’t even watch the Oscars because he had to get some sleep so he could take his daughter Hailie to school the next day.
“I think I was just at home with my daughter,” he said. “And I didn’t watch it, either. At that point in time, Hailie had to be at school early in the morning, so [I was sleeping].”
Since the Oscar win, “Lose Yourself,” which was co-produced by Eminem and frequent collaborator Jeff Bass of Bass Brothers fame, has been certified 13-times platinum on March 8, 2023 by the Recording Industry Association of America. The song also earned him two gramaphones for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Solo Performance at the 2004 Grammy Awards.
Seventeen years later, Eminem made up for his absence at the 2003 Academy Awards by performing “Lose Yourself,” at the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020. You can watch the video below.