Whether he’s confronting his critics, slamming celebrities, getting sublimely silly or seriously spitting, it seems [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] is always at his best on the big stage. And that’s convenient, especially since he’s just been announced as a performer at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards , airing live Sunday, May 31, at 9 p.m. ET.
We don’t know what to expect from Em on Movie Awards night, but if his previous performances are any indication, we could be in for a wild one. So, in celebration of the big announcement, here’s a look back at Eminem’s best awards-show performances.
5. 2005 MTV Movie Awards
Em got schizophrenic at the ’05 Movie Awards, kicking off his performance by interviewing Lindsay Lohan as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (“You like remaking movies … what are you going to remake next? ‘Glitter?’ “), then bounding onstage to perform “Ass Like That,” backed up by life-size, gluteus-ly enhanced “Crank Yankers” characters. He then shifted gears, launching into a somber performance of “Mockingbird,” a song about his relationship with daughter Hailie. It was a turn so shockingly abrupt, it could’ve left everyone with whiplash, but Em pulled it off and managed to showcase the silly and the serious in a single performance.
4. 2002 MTV Movie Awards
Eminem flies in, dressed as the superhero from the “Without Me” video (perhaps an homage to Howard Stern’s “Fartman” appearance at the ’92 Video Music Awards), pulls a quick change in a phone booth, then emerges and positively tears through a version of the song. Actress Brittany Murphy is shown several times, rapping along from the audience (perhaps she thought she was still in “8 Mile”). She is just about as fired up as Em is. Bizarre.
3. 1999 MTV Video Music Awards
A baby-faced Em dons a blue hoodie (with “Role Model” spelled out on the front in blinking lights), spits his way through versions of “My Name Is” and “Guilty Conscience” (with [artist id="1061"]Dr. Dre[/artist]). [artist id="1133"]Snoop Dogg[/artist] — who is deep in his “No Limit is the label that pays me” period here — appears, and he and Dre send the crowd into hysterics by launching into “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang.” Eminem joins them to sing the hook. And the baton is officially passed.
2. 2000 MTV Video Music Awards
At this point, Eminem was arguably the biggest star in the music industry (either him or Britney Spears, who would stage a coming-out party of her own at the ’00 VMAs), and he delivered on the hype with a performance that has since gone down in VMA history. He stormed New York’s Radio City Music Hall with an army of Slim Shady look-alikes, and — looking lean and mean — strutted his way through a medley of “The Real Slim Shady” and a downright angry “The Way I Am.” It doesn’t get much better than this.
1. The 43rd Annual Grammy Awards
For most of 2000, Eminem weathered the protests of groups like GLAAD , who found the content of his The Marshall Mathers LP to be “hate-filled” and “homophobic.” And when it was announced in early 2001 that Em would be joined by Elton John for a duet of “Stan,” at the 43rd Grammy Awards, they boycotted outside the Staples Center, where the show took place. What they missed was perhaps the most fiery, revelatory performance of the rapper’s career. It was six minutes of emotion and vitriol that earned Em a standing ovation. And at performance’s end, he embraced John, raised his hands in the air, and extended a middle finger to his critics. The message was clear: You can’t say anything about me anymore. If anyone ever says rappers can’t perform live, feel free to direct them to this clip.