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Last Updated:  Friday, 14 February, 2003, 11:13 GMT
Eminem builds on Oscar buzz
Eminem in 8 Mile
Eminem won rave reviews for his role in 8 Mile
Eminem missed out on an Oscar nomination for acting despite being tipped by some for his performance in 8 Mile - but he has been shortlisted for best song.

The Oscars buzz surrounding rap star Eminem's performance as a young rapper in 8 Mile began when his producer, Brian Grazer, declared that the star had "turned in a performance that reminds me of Stallone in Rocky".

Eminem had a "good shot" at being nominated, Grazer said, adding: "I think the audience is going to be blown away, so will the Academy."

Grazer should know - he won an Oscar for producing A Beautiful Mind in 2002 and has been nominated twice before.

He doesn't want to walk around on the red carpet - that is not his style
Paul Rosenberg
Eminem's manager
In the end, 8 Mile was a box office hit - but the Academy did not see fit to rate it as one of the top five performances of the year from a male lead.

Observers have offered several possible explanations - one being that 8 Mile was released too early and its Oscar buzz ran out of steam by the time the campaign got under way in earnest.

Another is that the members of the Academy - dominated by ageing and not overly adventurous Hollywood professionals - were not ready to forget Eminem's recent past as a controversial headline-grabber with homophobic and misogynistic lyrics.

To combat this, film studio Universal took out ads saying 8 Mile "shed light on a vibrant but largely misunderstood aspect of our culture" and had been hailed as a "superlative piece of filmmaking" - but that failed to sway the Academy.

Another theory is simply that the Oscars buzz was merely media hot air and he was never really in the running.

Unsurprisingly, we were told that Eminem did not mind whether he was nominated anyway.

His manager, Paul Rosenberg, said: "It's not like he gives a damn whether he gets this stuff or not."

"He certainly doesn't want to be seen as a movie star. He doesn't want to walk around on the red carpet. That is not his style. That's not what he wants to be."

Strong contender

But, as if as a consolation, Eminem has been nominated for best song for his chart-topping tune Lose Yourself, which appears in 8 Mile.

He will be a strong contender for that award - although he is up against stiff competition.

U2's theme from Gangs of New York, The Hands That Built America, is also nominated, as is Paul Simon's song Father and Daughter, from children's film The Wild Thornberrys Movie.

Songs from Chicago and Frida, which do not have big-name music stars behind them, complete the nominations.

Recent Oscars history has seen high-profile music stars triumph in the song category, with Randy Newman, Bob Dylan and Phil Collins winning the last three prizes.

But whether the Academy is ready to shun veterans like U2 and Paul Simon in favour of a controversial rapper will be among the most intriguing questions to be answered on Oscars night.



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