“We’ve been holding onto [Eminem's performance] for a while," Oscars co-producer Lynette Howell Taylor tells PEOPLE

By Ashley Boucher Elizabeth Leonard
February 10, 2020 12:58 AM

One of the most talked-about moments during Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony was Eminem‘s surprise performance midway through the show — and a producer for the show tells PEOPLE how it came about, 18 years after the rapper won for Best Original Song.

The producers wanted to make a show about “impact” and wanted to include the impact of music, says Oscars co-producer Lynette Howell Taylor.

“So we reached out [to Eminem] to see if that was something he might want to be involved in,” Taylor continues. “He said yes.”

“We’ve been holding onto it for a while,” Taylor adds.

“It was nice that we surprised people — we don’t usually get to surprise anybody in this day and age!” she says.

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RELATED: Eminem Makes Surprise Oscars Appearance to Perform ‘Lose Yourself’: ‘Sorry It Took Me 18 Years’

“We feel really happy,” Taylor adds of how the production teams feels about the Oscars this year. “I’m so happy about all the winners, it’s an incredible group of winners, and the performances killed it. I’m just thrilled.”

After Lin-Manuel Miranda introduced a segment that looked through some of the most iconic Best Original Song winners and ended on a scene from Eminem’s 8 Mile, the 47-year-old rapper appeared on stage for an energetic rendition of “Lose Yourself” from the movie.

Although the track was nominated in 2003, Eminem skipped the ceremony that year, instead spending the evening dozing at his home in Michigan with the TV tuned to cartoons for his daughter, Hailie, the Detroit Free Press reported at the time.

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Barbra Streisand ended up presenting the golden statuette for “Lose Yourself” to co-writer Luis Resto that year due to Eminem’s absence.

Eighteen years later, Eminem posted a clip of Streisand announcing the song at the 2003 Oscars, taking the opportunity to thank the Academy for having him perform on Sunday night.

“Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity… Thanks for having me @theacademy,” he wrote in the post, riffing off lyrics from the song. “Sorry it took me 18 years to get here.”

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards aired live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9.