Marshall Mathers—also known as—Eminem became the first rapper to win an Academy Award on the night of March 23rd, 2003, at the 75th annual Academy Awards. Eminem won the award for Best Original Song with Lose Yourself, the lead single from the soundtrack for his semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile.
Lose Yourself won Best Original Song over Elliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor’s Burn It Blue from Frida, U2’s The Hands That Built America from Gangs of New York), Paul Simon’s Father and Daughter from The Wild Thornberry’s Movie, and John Kander and Fred Ebb’s I Move On from Chicago.
The song was produced by Eminem along with Jeff Bass (one half of the Bass Brothers). Lose Yourself was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Best Rap Song in 2003.
Eminem didn’t attend the award ceremony that night but co-writer Luis Resto accepted the award on behalf of Eminem and Jeff Bass.
In a Behind the Boards interview with SouthPawer, Eminem revealed why he didn’t attend the ceremony.
“Actually, I was sleeping that night.. 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… I was not sure what exactly Grammy or Oscar meant, what a certain award 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 snowballs chance of…I think I got it confused when they said about Oscar. They were talking about the song but I was like ‘yea but isn’t there other movies that got rock songs and stuff like that? 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.”