Nearly two decades after Elton John joined Eminem for a historic Grammys moment, the ‘Rocketman’ singer reunited with the rapper backstage at the Oscars for one epic photo.
“I got to see my Uncle Elton tonight at the Oscars,” Eminem, 47, captioned a picture of him alongside Elton John, 72, backstage at the 92nd Academy Awards. In the shot, which Em tweeted on Feb. 10, the “Lose Yourself” rapper stands with his arm around Elton. The “Rocketman” singer is smiling from ear to ear, while Em is his stoic self (he did make sure to congratulate Elton on his victory, though.) It’s unclear whether or not this reunion happened before Eminem’s surprise Oscars performance or after Elton won Best Original Song. What is clear is that this was a major moment that was 19-years in the making.
While Eminem’s appearance at the 2020 Oscars was a huge surprise – to the point that some people seemed confused as to why he was there – it mirrors the surprise that Slim Shady and Elton pulled off at the 2001 Grammy Awards. 19 years ago, Eminem was the most controversial rapper in the world. His third LP, The Marshal Mathers LP, was a huge hit, but many critics called his lyrics homophobic, misogynistic, and unnecessarily violent. There were protests outside the Stables Center that night, according to Rolling Stone, by people who objected to Eminem’s involvement in the night’s show. Yet, when it was time for him to perform his massive hit “Stan,” out came Elton to sing the Dido part. At the end of the performance, the two embraced, and Eminem flipped off the audience.
“I love him,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 2010. In fact, Elton was a massive supporter of Eminem from the very beginning, while many others in the LBGT+ community were critical of his lyrics. “I don’t see much of Marshall [Mathers, Eminem’s real name], but we speak a lot. He’s really worked very hard at [sobriety], and it’s changed him so much. I just saw a picture of him in a magazine, and he looks like a 17-year-old boy. I’m so happy for him.”
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) February 10, 2020
“We have such a laugh. We call each other c—s. I ask him how he’s doing and tell him how proud I am of him. He’s got a great sense of humor. When David [Furnish] and I had our civil partnership, he sent us a present. In a case, on velvet cushions, were two diamond c–k rings. So there’s a homophobe for you.”
It’s hard to believe that Eminem’s reunion with Elton, 19-years after their “Stan” performance, was the second biggest moment of his night. The first would be his surprise performance of “Lose Yourself.” A literal unannounced and unexpected moment, Eminem emerged out of nowhere at the end of a montage celebrating how popular music can enhance the cinematic experience. Eminem’s performance was also something 17-years in the making.
His song, “Lose Yourself,” won the Oscar for Best Song (the first time a hip-hop track claimed the honor), but Eminem bailed on the ceremony. He didn’t perform the song at the show, and he wasn’t there to claim the award when it won. Following the surprise 2020 performance, Eminem extended his gratitude. “Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity… Thanks for having me @TheAcademy. Sorry it took me 18 years to get here.”