The countdown to one of the biggest nights in music is officially on, with MTV having now announced the full list of nominations for this year’s Video Music Awards.
We’re thrilled to see that a number of our favourites from the last 12 months have all been recognised, including Childish Gambino’s epic ‘This Is America’, Ariana Grande’s gorgeous ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ and the feast-for-the-eyes that is Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s ‘APESHIT’.
That being said, we can’t help but feel that there have also been a few glaring omissions on the noms list, too. Here are 10 of the videos MTV have overlooked this year...
1. Janelle Monáe - ‘PYNK’
(Directed by Emma Westenberg)
Thanks to her visual album, ‘Dirty Computer’, Janelle Monáe is probably the video artist of 2018, and the jewel in the short film’s crown is ‘PYNK’, a luscious, colourful and actually quite cheeky celebration of womanhood, co-starring the star’s rumoured girlfriend, Tessa Thompson.
‘PYNK’ has received a nod in the Best Video With A Message category and, of course, recognition is recognition... but given the online buzz created by the visuals in the video, including shots of “I Grab Back” underwear, plenty of allusions to same-sex romance and, of course, those genitalia-inspired trousers, we’re surprised (and disappointed) to see this didn’t translate to a Video Of The Year nomination too.
2. Taylor Swift - ‘Look What You Made Me Do’
(Directed by Joseph Kahn)
Listen, we know Taylor Swift isn’t exactly the coolest artist to name-check right now, or accuse the music industry of injustice towards. And yes, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ as a song wasn’t to everyone’s tastes. But given that this is an awards show celebrating music videos… why leave Taylor’s era-defining, budget-blowing, past-self-acknowledging, snake-heavy clip off the list?
Like ‘PYNK’, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ has received nods in the “artistic” categories, but there’s no denying it blows the likes of ‘Havana’, ‘Perfect’ and ‘In My Blood’ out of the water.
Plus, when you take Taylor’s own complicated history with MTV into account, this feels more like an actual snub than any other video on the list.
3. Jay-Z - ‘Family Feud’
(Directed by Ava DuVernay)
The Carters’ ‘APESHIT’ is the single most nominated video at this year’s VMAs, but we’re disappointed Jay-Z’s solo efforts from the past 12 months haven’t also been recognised.
While the racially-charged ‘The Story Of O.J.’ was totally overlooked at last year’s ceremony (later scooping a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video), this year his videos for ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Family Feud’ are also noticeably absent, and it’s the latter that we’re most surprised at.
Helmed by star director Ava DuVernay, ‘Family Feud’ has all the makings of an MTV hit: a big budget, an all-star cast (including Michael B Jordan and Jessica Chastain), references to real-life personal drama and a narrative that paints Blue Ivy as a future president.
We’re not about to pretend ‘Family Feud’ would beat ‘APESHIT’ in any of the categories it’s been nominated for, but it should have at least bagged a Best Hip-Hop Video nomination.
4. Cardi B - ‘Be Careful’
(Directed by Jora Frantzis)
Like Jay-Z, nobody’s suggesting Cardi B has been underrepresented at this year’s VMAs, she’s actually scooped more nominations than any other artist this year.
However, the majority of her tips are for features ‘Dinero’ and ‘Finesse’, while the one solo video nod she’s managed is for ‘Bartier Cardi’, a video we won’t pretend we don’t love, but can’t help feeling ‘Be Careful’ might have been a more worthy recipient.
Casting Cardi in dual roles as a new bride and a vengeful widow, the clip allows the rapper to show off multiple sides of her personality, and even though we’re happy to see so many Cardi offerings on the nominations list, we wish this could have been one of them.
5. St. Vincent - ‘Los Ageless’/‘New York’
(Directed by Willo Perron/Alex Da Corte)
We get it, St. Vincent isn’t exactly what you’d call an “MTV artist”, and it’s hard to imagine her rubbing shoulders with the Bebe Rexhas and Camila Cabellos in the current pop scene at the event.
But with her ‘MASSEDUCTION’ album, the singer/songwriter went in a totally new direction, recruiting Jack Antonoff (whose credits include Lorde, Taylor Swift and Troye Sivan) on production and also providing us with some of the best visuals of her career.
While St. Vincent herself wouldn’t be your usual VMAs nominee, ‘Los Ageless’, which we named our third favourite video of the year at the end of 2017, and ‘New York’ would both sit comfortably alongside many of the clips up for awards this year, and would certainly be a more worthy winner than many of the aforementioned Best Pop Video candidates.
6. Tove Lo - ‘bitches’
(Directed by Lucia Aniello)
Similarly, Swedish singer/songwriter Tove Lo isn’t quite up there with Camila Cabello and Ariana Grande in terms of profile, but the remixed version of her album track ‘bitches’ is a video we’ve been hitting replay on ever since it debuted in June.
The six-minute video has a fairly simple narrative, which sees Tove running an *ahem* unique facility, alongside featured artists Charli XCX, Alma, Elliphant and Icona Pop, teaching men to hone one very specific skill.
Or, as its lead actor suggests at the end of the video: “Guys, they teach you how to eat p***y in there.”
It’s every bit as silly as it sounds, and proves that while Tove can often be accused of taking herself a little too seriously, she’s definitely up for having fun with sexuality too.
7. Kendrick Lamar - ‘All The Stars’
(Directed by Dave Meyers and the little homies)
We appreciate that Best Hip-Hop Video is a tight category this year, and the thought of anyone beating either ‘APESHIT’ or ‘This Is America’ is… well… it’s just not happening, is it?
But while ‘All The Stars’ was probably never going to win, that doesn’t mean its omission from the list is any less surprising, particularly when you take into account that Kendrick Lamar is the reigning champion in the Video Of The Year category, and the song is taken from the soundtrack to one of 2018’s biggest box office hits, ‘Black Panther’.
Oh, and it’s really good, obviously.
8. Troye Sivan - ‘Bloom’/‘My! My! My’
(Directed by Bardia Zeinali/Grant Singer)
One of the most exciting artists in pop right now, Troye Sivan is currently gearing up for the release of his sophomore album, ‘Bloom’, which was trailed by singles ‘My! My! My!’ and the collection’s title track.
Both of these were accompanied by some of the year’s most striking visuals, and if the sight of Troye strutting around like an extra from Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ video in ‘My! My! My!’ wasn’t enough of a treat, ‘Bloom’ saw the singer sounding off about his bumhole (yes, really) while experimenting with genderfuck drag.
Sadly, neither of these seemed to float MTV’s boat, as he’s walked away with precisely zero nominations this year.
9. Drake - ‘Nice For What’
(Directed by Karena Evans)
Again, Drake is far from short on nominations this year, racking up seven in total including Video Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Video With A Message and two separate nods in the Best Hip-Hop category.
The majority of these are for his ‘God’s Plan’ music video, which sees the rapper doing various charitable acts and eventually donating $175,000 to the people of Miami over the course of the clip.
Of course, this is a commendable act.
But also… does it feature Tiffany Haddish smoking a cigarette? Bria Vinaite jubilantly steering a racing car? Or HuffPost fave Letitia Wright generally just soaking up her own brilliance? No, no it does not.
10. Justin Timberlake - ‘Supplies’
Actually… never mind.
This year’s MTV Video Music Awards will take place on Monday 20 August. Check out the full list of nominations here.