Every VMA Video of the Year Winner Ranked

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CREDIT: Missy Elliott/YouTube

The 2018 VMA’s were just a couple of weeks, which means I’ve had a hankering to rank every Video of the Year winner from most not-the-best to the very best. And so, here is that ranking?

35. Green Day – “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”
34. Katy Perry – “Firework”
33. Britney Spears – “Piece of Me”
32. Eminem – “Without Me”
31. Aerosmith – “Cryin'”
30. Eminem – “The Real Slim Shady”
29. The Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight”
28. Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
27. Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and P!nk ft. Missy Elliott – “Lady Marmalade”
26. Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball”
25. Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – “We Found Love”
24. Madonna – “Ray of Light”
23. Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors”
22. R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion”
21. Don Henley – “The Boys of Summer”
20. OutKast – “Hey Ya!”
19. Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
18. Panic! at the Disco – “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”
17. The Cars – “You Might Think”
16. Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug – “Havana”
15. Beyonce – “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”
14. Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
13. Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance”
12. Neil Young – “This Note’s for You”
11. van Halen – “Right Now”
10. Beyonce – “Formation”
9. Rihanna ft. Jay-Z – “Umbrella”
8. TLC – “Waterfalls”
7. INXS – “Need You Tonight/Mediate”
6. Jamiroquai – “Virtual Insanity”
5. Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U”
4. Dire Straits – “Money for Nothing”
3. Pearl Jam – “Jeremy”
2. Missy Elliott – “Work It”
1. Peter Gabriel – “Sledgehammer”

Agree? Disagree? Confused? Let me know!

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VMA’s 2014: Who Should Win?

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Moonman

The 2014 VMA’s are airing tonight Sunday, August 24.  (The nominees can be found here.)  Predicting the winners is a crapshoot.  Here’s who should win:

Video of the Year: Sia – “Chandelier”

Best Male Video: Pharrell Williams – “Happy”

Best Female Video: Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – “Fancy”

Artist to Watch: Sam Smith – “Stay With Me”

Best Pop Video: Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – “Fancy”

Best Rock Video: The Black Keys – “Fever”

Best Hip-Hop Video: Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”

MTV Clubland Award: DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon – “Turn Down For What”

Best Collaboration: Katy Perry ft. Juicy J – “Dark Horse”

Best Direction: OK Go – “The Writing’s on the Wall” (Directors: Damian Kulash, Aaron Duffy, and Bob Partington)

Best Choreography: Sia – “Chandelier” (Choreographer: Ryan Heffington)

Best Visual Effects: OK Go – “The Writing’s on the Wall” (Visual Effects: 1stAveMachine)

Best Art Direction: Arcade Fire – “Reflektor” (Art Director: Anastasia Masaro)

Best Editing: No opinion

Best Cinematography: Lana Del Rey – “West Coast” (Director of Photography: Evan Prosofsky)

Best Video with a Social Message: This category is very silly.

Best Lyric Video: I don’t watch lyric videos that often.

And check out this list I wrote for Starpulse of 10 classic music videos that did not win Video of the Year: http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jeffrey_Malone/2014/08/24/10_classic_music_videos_that_did_not_w

Re-Selecting the VMA’s Videos of the Year

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The 2013 VMA’s are airing tomorrow night, Sunday, August 25, and instead of working on the fool’s errand of predicting the winners, I will be going through all of the past Video of the Year winners and determining if the appropriate choice was made or if the Moonman should have gone to another nominee.  There have been some deserving Video of the Year winners, but not every year.  But in general, there has been at least one good nominee.  Here we go:

1984: WINNER: The Cars – “You Might Think”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Michael Jackson – “Thriller” – Giant Ric Ocasek is plenty amusing, but it’s not the best music video of all time.

1985: WINNER: Don Henley – “The Boys of Summer”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Don’t Come Around Here No More” – Alice in Wonderland homages are a dime a dozen, but they don’t often come much more memorable than Tom Petty as the Mad Hatter.

1986: WINNER: Dire Straits – “Money for Nothing”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Money for Nothing” – Tough competition from “Take on Me” and “Addicted to Love,” but MTV was thankfully willing to reward MTV-targeted satire.

1987: WINNER: Peter Gabriel – “Sledgehammer”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Sledgehammer” – Quite possibly my choice for best music video of all time, “Sledgehammer” is the apotheosis of visual wit and imagination.

1988: WINNER: INXS – “Need You Tonight/Mediate”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Need You Tonight/Mediate” – Michael Hutchence delivered sex appeal and a Bob Dylan homage that was even better than the original.

1989: WINNER: Neil Young – “This Note’s for You”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Fine Young Cannibals – “She Drives Me Crazy” – I love Neil Young, but “This Note’s for You” has not had the legacy of one of the great minimalist clips of all time.

1990: WINNER: Sinéad O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Emotionally, understatedly wrenching.  Totally manipulative, but in an absolutely lovely way.

1991: WINNER: R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Deee-Lite – “Groove is in the Heart” – Tough call, here.  (“Wicked Game” was also a worthy contender.)  I feel like “Losing My Religion” is a better song than video, but perhaps I am a bit blinded by all the colors of Deee-Lite.

1992: WINNER: van Halen – “Right Now”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – “Right Now” is quite clever and sometimes just plain old silly, which is to say, it has a spot among great videos, but it’s no “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

1993: WINNER: Pearl Jam – “Jeremy”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Jeremy” – The music video may be the best visual art form for social commentary with an artsy sensibility.

1994: WINNER: Aerosmith – “Cryin'”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Beastie Boys – “Sabotage” – We enjoyed the Thelma & Louise-style adventures of Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone, but not as much as the 70’s cop show adventures of Mike D, Ad-Rock, and MCA.

1995: WINNER: TLC – “Waterfalls”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Weezer – “Buddy Holly” – “Waterfalls” had some cool FX, but no Fonzie.

1996: WINNER: The Smashing Pumpkns – “Tonight, Tonight”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – “Tha Crossroads” – A mostly unmemorable year.  At least “Tha Crossroads” had some directorial style.

1997: WINNER: Jamiroquai – “Virtual Insanity”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Virtual Insanity” – Neat camera tricks make for some weirdly cool dance moves.

1998: WINNER: Madonna – “Ray of Light”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Ray of Light” – A batch of good, but not great, nominees, with “Ray of Light” winning points for bringing visuals with an EDM sensibility to a mainstream video.

1999: WINNER: Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN:Korn – “Freak on a Leash” – There once was a time when the viewpoint of a bullet was “in,” and kind of deservedly so.

2000: WINNER: Eminem – “The Real Slim Shady”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN:D’Angelo – “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” – Marshall Mather’s videos are often funny, but they don’t have closeups of a naked man’s ear.

2001: WINNER: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and P!nk – “Lady Marmalade”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Fatboy Slim – “Weapon of Choice” – It may have been surprising 12 years ago, but it is no longer a shock that it is more fun to watch Christopher Walken’s dancing than those four ladies’.

2002: WINNER: Eminem – “Without Me”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: The White Stripes – “Fell in Love with a Girl” – The attention to detail in the craft of an all-LEGO video cannot be ignored.

2003: WINNER: Missy Elliott – “Work It”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Work It” – One of Missy’s wild yet technically impressive dance clips had to be awarded at some point.

2004: WINNER: OutKast – “Hey Ya!”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “Hey Ya!” or Jay-Z – “99 Problems” – “Hey Ya” is more fun and accessible, but the expressionistic “99 Problems” really sticks with you.

2005: WINNER: Green Day – “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell – “Drop It Like It’s Hot” or Kanye West – “Jesus Walks” – Tough call.  Snoop’s B&W clip might be the best minimalist video of all time, but “Jesus Walks” was the start of some incredible ambition.

2006: WINNER: Panic! at the Disco – “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Dani California” A fun homage to RHCP’s influences should have edged out P!atD’s colorful cast of characters.

2007: WINNER: Rihanna ft Jay-Z – “Umbrella”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Justice – “D.A.N.C.E.” – RiRi left us with quite a striking image, but Justice’s chameleonic T-shirts were the most original idea of the year.

2008: WINNER: Britney Spears – “Piece of Me”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: The Ting-Tings – “Shut Up and Let Me Go” – Awarding Britney for one of her lesser videos is the biggest VMA embarrassment in recent history.  But it was slim pickings among what was nominated.  The Ting-Tings stick out with their kaleidoscopic mix of colorful backgrounds and finger triangles.

2009: WINNER:Beyoncé – “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Kanye West – “Love Lockdown” – Sorry, Kanye, but Beyoncé actually had one of the most overrated videos of the decade.  Your own video was much better.

2010: WINNER: Lady GaGa – “Bad Romance”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Lady GaGa ft. Beyoncé – “Telephone” – How can you not go with the more insane GaGa clip?

2011: WINNER: Katy Perry – “Firework”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Tyler, the Creator – “Yonkers” – The fact that Tyler’s mini-horror movie was even nominated (and won for Best New Artist) is enough of an accomplishment.  Too bad the actual winner went to the boring “Firework” from the otherwise entertaining Katy Perry.

2012: WINNER: Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – “We Found Love”/SHOULD HAVE BEEN: Gotye ft. Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used to Know” – A solid video was guaranteed to win in one of the best groups of nominees in VMA history, but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that Gotye was not THE winner.

2012 Video Music Awards Live Tweeting

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I will be live tweeting the Video Music Awards tomorrow, Thursday, September 6, at 8 eastern/7 central.  If you want to follow, go @jmunneymalone.

You know you love me.
xoxo,
Jmunney

2012 Video Music Awards Predictions (I Guess)

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The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards are this Thursday, September 6, 8 PM (7 Central).  Generally, I think I have a good sense of what will win at major entertainment awards shows, but last year, I correctly predicted 2 out of 14 VMA categories.  So, this year I’m not going to spend much time trying to figure out this notoriously hard to crack festivity.  Just a quick will win/should win for each category.

Video of the Year
Drake ft. Rihanna – “Take Care”
Gotye ft. Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
M.I.A. – “Bad Girls”
Katy Perry – “Wide Awake”
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – “We Found Love”
Will Win/Should Win: “Somebody That I Used to Know”

Best Male Video
Justin Bieber — “Boyfriend”
Chris Brown — “Turn Up the Music”
Drake ft. Rihanna — “Take Care”
Frank Ocean — “Swim Good”
Usher — “Climax”
Will Win: “Boyfriend”
Should Win: “Take Care”

Best Female Video
Beyoncé — “Love on Top”
Selena Gomez & the Scene — “Love You Like a Love Song”
Nicki Minaj — “Starships”
Katy Perry — “Part of Me”
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris — “We Found Love”
Will Win: “Part of Me”
Should Win: “Love You Like a Love Song”

Best New Artist
fun. – ft. Janelle Monáe — “We Are Young”
Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”
Frank Ocean — “Swim Good”
One Direction — “What Makes You Beautiful”
The Wanted — “Glad You Came”
Will Win: “Call Me Maybe” (or “What Makes You Beautiful”)
Should Win: “Call Me Maybe”

Best Pop Video
Justin Bieber — “Boyfriend”
fun. ft. Janelle Monáe — “We Are Young”
Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa — “Payphone”
One Direction — “What Makes You Beautiful”
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris — “We Found Love”
Will Win: “Boyfriend”
Should Win: “We Found Love”

Best Rock Video
The Black Keys — “Lonely Boy”
Coldplay — “Paradise”
Imagine Dragons — “It’s Time”
Linkin Park — “Burn It Down”
Jack White — “Sixteen Saltines”
Will Win/Should Win: “Lonely Boy”

Best Hip-Hop Video
Childish Gambino — “Heartbeat”
Drake ft. Lil Wayne — “HYFR”
Jay-Z and Kanye West — “Paris”
Nicki Minaj ft. 2 Chainz — “Beez in the Trap”
Kanye West ft. Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz — “Mercy”
Will Win: “Paris”
Should Win: “Paris” (I guess)

Best Electronic Dance Music Video
Avicii — “Levels”
Duck Sauce — “Big Bad Wolf”
Calvin Harris — “Feel So Close”
Skrillex — “First of the Year (Equinox)’
Martin Solveig — “The Night Out”
Will Win: “First of the Year (Equinox)”
Should Win: “Big Bad Wolf”

And now we come to the “professional” categories, in which there is even less of a point in attempting predictions, so I’ll just run through the should win’s for these categories.

Best Director
Coldplay ft. Rihanna — “Princess of China” (Director: Adria Petty and Alan Bibby)
Duck Sauce — “Big Bad Wolf” (Director: Keith Schofield)
Jay-Z and Kanye West ft. Otis Redding — “Otis” (Director: Spike Jonze)
M.I.A. — “Bad Girls” (Director: Romain Gavras)
Frank Ocean — “Swim Good” (Director: Nabil Elderkin)
Should Win: Keith Schofield, “Big Bad Wolf”

Best Choreography
Avicii — “Levels” (Choreographers: Richy Greenfield and Petro Papahadjopoulos)
Beyoncé — “Countdown” (Choreographers: Danielle Polanco, Frank Gatson Jr., Beyoncé and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker)
Chris Brown — “Turn Up the Music” (Choreographer: Anwar “Flii” Burton)
Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull — “Dance Again” (Choreographer: JR Taylor)
Rihanna — “Where Have You Been” (Choreographer: Hi-Hat)
Should Win: “Levels”

Best Visual Effects
David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj — “Turn Me On” (Visual Effects: Alex Frisch, Joe Harkins, Scott Metzger and Vico Sharabani)
Linkin Park — “Burn It Down” (Visual Effects: Ghost Town Media)
Katy Perry — “Wide Awake” (Visual Effects: Ingenuity Engine)
Rihanna — “Where Have You Been” (Visual Effects: BAKED FX)
Skrillex — “First of the Year (Equinox)” (Visual Effects: Deka Brothers and Tony “Truand” Datis)
Should Win: “Turn Me On”

Best Art Direction
Lana Del Rey — “Born to Die” (Art Directors: Anna Brun and Audrey Malecot)
Drake ft. Rihanna — “Take Care” (Art Director: Charles Infante)
Of Monsters and Men — “Little Talks” (Art Director: Mihai Wilson)
Katy Perry — “Wide Awake” (Art Director: Benji Bamps)
Regina Spektor — “All the Rowboats” (Art Director: Anthony Henderson)
Should Win: “Born to Die”

Best Editing
A$AP Rocky — “Goldie” (Editor: Samantha Lecca)
Beyoncé — “Countdown” (Editors: Alexander Hammer and Jeremiah Shuff)
Gotye ft. Kimbra — “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Editor: Natasha Pincus)
Jay-Z and Kanye West — “Niggas in Paris” (Editors: Alexander Hammer, Peter Johnson and Derek Lee)
Kanye West ft Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz — “Mercy” (Editor: Eric Greenburg)
Should Win: “Somebody That I Used to Know”

Best Cinematography
Adele — “Someone Like You” (Director of Photography: David Johnson)
Coldplay ft. Rihanna — “Princess of China” (Director of Photography: Stéphane Vallée)
Lana Del Rey — “Born to Die” (Director of Photography: André Chemetoff)
Drake ft. Rihanna — “Take Care” (Director of Photography: Kasper Tuxen)
M.I.A. — “Bad Girls” (Director of Photography: André Chemetoff)
Should Win: “Bad Girls”

Best Video with a Message
Kelly Clarkson — “Dark Side”
Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder — “The Fighter”
K’naan ft. Nelly Furtado — “Is Anybody Out There?”
Lil Wayne — “How to Love”
Demi Lovato — “Skyscraper”
Rise Against — “Ballad of Hollis Brown”
Will Win: “Skyscraper”
Should Win: “Ballad of Hollis Brown”

Best Latino Artist
Juanes
Jennifer Lopez
Pitbull
Romeo Santos
Wisin & Yandel
Will Win: ???
Should Win: ???

2012 VMAs Nominees – Quick Reactions

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Video of the Year
Drake ft. Rihanna – “Take Care”
Gotye ft. Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
M.I.A. – “Bad Girls”
Katy Perry – “Wide Awake”
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – “We Found Love”

This is the best overall set of Video of the Year nominees I can remember in my lifetime.  I would be happy with any of these videos winning, but Gotye definitely deserves it the most.  Lately, there’s been one oddball Video of the Year nominee each year, and eight months ago, I would have thought that oddball nominee would have been “Somebody That I Used to Know,” but then that inexplicably became a hit, so M.I.A. was slotted in as the alternative choice.  I hadn’t heard or seen “Bad Girls” until I saw these nominations, and now I’ve been listening to it every day.  But still, “Somebody That I Used to Know” deserves it by a mile – it was #3 in my list for best music videos of 2011 (#1 – Tyler, the Creator’s “Yonkers” – was up last year and #2 – Duck Sauce’s “Big Bad Wolf” – was perhaps a bit much for Video of the Year, but did manage a spot in the Electronic category).

Best Male Video
Justin Bieber — “Boyfriend”
Chris Brown — “Turn Up the Music”
Drake ft. Rihanna — “Take Care”
Frank Ocean — “Swim Good”
Usher — “Climax”

Umm … where is Gotye?  Drake – by far – is the only one here with a signficantly memorable video.

Best Female Video
Beyoncé — “Love on Top”
Selena Gomez & the Scene — “Love You Like a Love Song”
Nicki Minaj — “Starships”
Katy Perry — “Part of Me”
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris — “We Found Love”

Oh, VMA inconsistency! If “Wide Awake” is up for Video of the Year, then why is “Part of Me” the Katy Perry selection for Female Video?  This is a tough call between Rihanna and Selena – RiRi had the more indelible images, but I think I prefer Selena with the more interesting idea.

Best New Artist
fun. – ft. Janelle Monáe — “We Are Young”
Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”
Frank Ocean — “Swim Good”
One Direction — “What Makes You Beautiful”
The Wanted — “Glad You Came”

Gotye is the only new artist up for Video of the Year, but he’s not up for Best New Artist… Frank Ocean may have had the best music of the newbies, but his video for “Swim Good” doesn’t do much for me.  I think I’ll actually give the edge to Carly Rae over fun. on this one.

Best Pop Video
Justin Bieber — “Boyfriend”
fun. ft. Janelle Monáe — “We Are Young”
Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa — “Payphone”
One Direction — “What Makes You Beautiful”
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris — “We Found Love”

“We Found Love” seems a little out of place in the pop category, but it is certainly the best of this bunch.

Best Rock Video
The Black Keys — “Lonely Boy”
Coldplay — “Paradise”
Imagine Dragons — “It’s Time”
Linkin Park — “Burn It Down”
Jack White — “Sixteen Saltines”

You can always count on Best Rock Video to not be completely screwed up.  Please, please, let’s recognize the Black Keys, who have had on average the best videos of any band the past two years.

Best Hip-Hop Video
Childish Gambino — “Heartbeat”
Drake ft. Lil Wayne — “HYFR”
Jay-Z and Kanye West — “Paris”
Nicki Minaj ft. 2 Chainz — “Beez in the Trap”
Kanye West ft. Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz — “Mercy”

I would really love to see Childish Gambino win something, because it could in a way be considered a win for Community.  “Heartbeat” is a great song, though its video isn’t all that special, but nor are any of the other nominees, so … go, Donald Glover!

Best Electronic Dance Music Video
Avicii — “Levels”
Duck Sauce — “Big Bad Wolf”
Calvin Harris — “Feel So Close”
Skrillex — “First of the Year (Equinox)’
Martin Solveig — “The Night Out”

Good call by the VMAs to restrict the Dance category to Electronic Dance this year, as it resulted in a group of nominees that is overall even better than the Video of the Year nominees.  I would love to see all of these videos win something, but “Big Bad Wolf” is the most impressive, in a lot of ways.

Best Director
Coldplay ft. Rihanna — “Princess of China” (Director: Adria Petty and Alan Bibby)
Duck Sauce — “Big Bad Wolf” (Director: Keith Schofield)
Jay-Z and Kanye West ft. Otis Redding — “Otis” (Director: Spike Jonze)
M.I.A. — “Bad Girls” (Director: Romain Gavras)
Frank Ocean — “Swim Good” (Director: Nabil Elderkin)

It’s usually a good call to award Spike Jonze, but “Otis” is nowhere near the level of “Sabotage,” “Buddy Holly,” or “Weapon of Choice.”  Romain Gavras has now directed a couple of great videos for M.I.A., and that collaboration deserves recognition, but I have to give it to Keith Schofield, who deserves plenty of credit for doing whatever he did to make “Big Bad Wolf” happen.

Best Choreography
Avicii — “Levels” (Choreographers: Richy Greenfield and Petro Papahadjopoulos)
Beyoncé — “Countdown” (Choreographers: Danielle Polanco, Frank Gatson Jr., Beyoncé and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker)
Chris Brown — “Turn Up the Music” (Choreographer: Anwar “Flii” Burton)
Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull — “Dance Again” (Choreographer: JR Taylor)
Rihanna — “Where Have You Been” (Choreographer: Hi-Hat)

In a traditional sense of understanding dance, the choreography of “Where Have You Been” was the most impressive, but when one considers that something like “Praise You” is considered one of the best dance videos of all time, “Levels” must then surely be recognized for being so wackadoodly memorable.

Best Visual Effects
David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj — “Turn Me On” (Visual Effects: Alex Frisch, Joe Harkins, Scott Metzger and Vico Sharabani)
Linkin Park — “Burn It Down” (Visual Effects: Ghost Town Media)
Katy Perry — “Wide Awake” (Visual Effects: Ingenuity Engine)
Rihanna — “Where Have You Been” (Visual Effects: BAKED FX)
Skrillex — “First of the Year (Equinox)” (Visual Effects: Deka Brothers and Tony “Truand” Datis)

“Wide Awake” and “First of the Year” had cool-looking effects, but those of “Turn Me On” were more all-encompassing.

Best Art Direction
Lana Del Rey — “Born to Die” (Art Directors: Anna Brun and Audrey Malecot)
Drake ft. Rihanna — “Take Care” (Art Director: Charles Infante)
Of Monsters and Men — “Little Talks” (Art Director: Mihai Wilson)
Katy Perry — “Wide Awake” (Art Director: Benji Bamps)
Regina Spektor — “All the Rowboats” (Art Director: Anthony Henderson)

Lana Del Rey may get a lot of guff for being overhyped by bloggers and for her super strange live performances, but she has made some excellent, often beautiful music videos, and “Born to Die” was the most beautiful video of the year.

Best Editing
A$AP Rocky — “Goldie” (Editor: Samantha Lecca)
Beyoncé — “Countdown” (Editors: Alexander Hammer and Jeremiah Shuff)
Gotye ft. Kimbra — “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Editor: Natasha Pincus)
Jay-Z and Kanye West — “Niggas in Paris” (Editors: Alexander Hammer, Peter Johnson and Derek Lee)
Kanye West ft Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz — “Mercy” (Editor: Eric Greenburg)

Why is this the only other category that “Somebody That I Used to Know” is up for?  Anyway, it should definitely win here – the editing played a big part in making it as good as it was.

Best Cinematography
Adele — “Someone Like You” (Director of Photography: David Johnson)
Coldplay ft. Rihanna — “Princess of China” (Director of Photography: Stéphane Vallée)
Lana Del Rey — “Born to Die” (Director of Photography: André Chemetoff)
Drake ft. Rihanna — “Take Care” (Director of Photography: Kasper Tuxen)
M.I.A. — “Bad Girls” (Director of Photography: André Chemetoff)

Following Adele with the camera was a neat trick, but the panoramic shots of riding through the desert in “Bad Girls” trump it.

Best Video with a Message
Kelly Clarkson — “Dark Side”
Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder — “The Fighter”
K’naan ft. Nelly Furtado — “Is Anybody Out There?”
Lil Wayne — “How to Love”
Demi Lovato — “Skyscraper”
Rise Against — “Ballad of Hollis Brown”

Why not nominate “Bad Girls” here?  That video’s all about supporting the right to drive for Saudi women.  Anyway, none of these nominees are doing much for me, except maybe Rise Against, who managed a decent Bob Dylan cover.

Best Latino Artist
Juanes
Jennifer Lopez
Pitbull
Romeo Santos
Wisin & Yandel

I’m not sure what the point of this category is.

2011 Video Music Awards Predictions Recap

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It turns out that predicting the winners of the VMA’s is even more of a fool’s errand than it is for most awards shows, which I have realized after correctly predicting a grand total of 2 (out of 14) categories (Foo Fighters for Rock Video, GaGa for Video with a Message).  Here a few things I learned about the VMA’s this year:

MTV does not care about consistency.
The distribution of the awards reminded me of an episode of Da Ali G Show.  Brüno was interviewing some guy at a fashion show.  He asked him why the show was humorless, and then he asked him how it had maintained a sense of humor; he asked him why the show was about the individual, and then he asked him why it was about other people; he asked him how he had made the show so heavy, and then he asked him how he had made it so light.  Ultimately he asked this guy if he cared about inconsistency, which of course, he didn’t.  Clearly, MTV feels the same way.  “Firework” won Video of the Year, even though it did not also win Best Female Video, and it wasn’t even nominated in Best Pop Video.  (Another Katy Perry video – “Last Friday Night” – was nominated in the Pop category.  There seemed to have been a desire to recognize all of Katy’s videos from the past year, which is fine, but she could have had multiple nominations in the same category if the nominators wanted her to.)  This isn’t anything new.  Panic! at the Disco won Video of the Year – and nothing else – in 2006, while Beyoncé won Video of the Year in 2009 but, quite famously, did not also win Female Video.
This was Adele’s year, but it was also Katy Perry’s, and GaGa (and Britney) need to be recognized, too.
“Rolling in the Deep” is the biggest hit of the year, and it won more moonmen than any other video this year, but those wins all came in the “professional categories” (Art Direction, Editing, Cinematography).  Meanwhile, Katy Perry has had a year comparable to – perhaps better than – Adele’s, having just had her fifth number one single off the same album (an accomplishment previously achieved only by Michael Jackson).  Her videos also had three wins (two for “E.T.,” one for “Firework”).  Meanwhile, Lady GaGa was somehow able to top them both in Female Video, and Britney was able to top them as well in Pop Video.
Justin Bieber wins everything he is nominated for.
Unless it’s the Grammys.  And nobody understands the Grammys.

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