Eminem an Oscar winner. How's that for street cred?
According to reports, the controversial rapper was more surprised than anybody that his hard-charging rap hit, "Lose Yourself," off the soundtrack to his blockbuster film 8 Mile, scored an Academy Award for Best Original Song on Sunday night, besting the likes of baby-boomer faves U2 and Paul Simon.
But that doesn't mean he wasn't ungrateful.
"[Eminem] is always thankful when the work he puts into his music is recognized by others," said a spokesman from Interscope Records regarding the rapper's reaction to winning the golden guy with cowriters Jeff Bass and Luis Resto.
The Detroit hip-hopster issued the statement after failing to show up to collect the prize. In fact, his was the one Best Song contender not performed during the ceremony.
It was Resto who did the speechifying, taking the stage dressed in very un-celebrity-like attire (a red-and-blue Detroit Pistons jersey with a gray overcoat instead of traditional black-tie) to accept the first Oscar ever bestowed on a hip-hop artist.
"He's creative, he has symphonies in his head that I'm privileged to put on tape," Resto told the audience about the rap superstar otherwise known as Marshall Mathers III.
"It means a lot to him, believe me, this means a whole lot to him," Resto told reporters backstage later. "I just don't think he expected it. So, this is fantastic."
According to Resto, Eminem was just too busy running his record label Shady Records to get away to attend Sunday's ceremonies. The official line from the Academy and his spokesman, however, had Mathers taking a break from the spotlight, opting to stay home with his infant daughter Hailie (and reportedly repair his relationship with his estranged ex-wife, Kim).
It's been a good run for Eminem, whose rhymes these days are as popular with balding middle-aged movie executives as they are with kids in the hood.
His latest blockbuster album, The Eminem Show, has sold over seven million copies since its release last summer and won a Grammy last month for Best Rap Album.
"Lose Yourself," meanwhile, sat at the top of the Billboard charts for 12 weeks in a row, making it the biggest pop hit so far in the new millennium.
And then, of course, there's his mega-hit movie debut, 8 Mile, which was inspired by the rapper's trailer-park upbringing. That flick not only launched Em's acting career, but it also made a bundle, grossing north of $116 million at the box office last year. The chart-topping soundtrack has also done multiplatinum business.
And the 8 Mile DVD is looking to do even better.
Fans last week plunked down a record $75 million for the Universal Home Videos Release, which hit stores last week and went the distance, marking the biggest DVD debut ever for an R-rated movie.
The DVD features the usual behind-the-scenes documentary and lots of footage that was left on the cutting-room floor, including five rap battles, as well as spontaneous rhyming from the master himself. And as an added bonus, there's a music video for the song "Superman" that's being released only on the DVD.