It’s that time of year again!
The air is still buzzing as Thursday (July 30) brought with it the highly anticipated 2020 MTV VMA nominations.
But, what also came with the announcement were jaw-dropping surprises, snubs, and all out “shut-outs.”
While fans of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd are singing the network’s praises for the recognition bestowed upon their 2019 and 2020 hits, supporters of Nicki Minaj, Camila Cabello, Beyoncé, and more aren’t joining that chorus.
Look inside to see our picks for this year’s biggest and most unjust snubs:
(In no particular order)
Camila Cabello’s ‘Liar’
One of the best music videos of the last few years, Camila Cabello’s mini-movie for 2019’s ‘Liar’ – the first single from her sophomore album ‘Romance’ – was easily one of the year’s most watchable musical clips.
Upping the conceptual ante from its ‘Havana’ predecessor, ‘Liar’ (in video and musical scheme) was designed to be the Young Thug-assisted tune’s more sophisticated sister.
Apparently MTV, which awarded ‘Havana’ the ‘Video of the Year’ trophy at its 2018 ceremony, disagreed as it was totally omitted from the list of nods.
Bad Bunny’s ‘Yo Perreo Sola’
Bad Bunny‘s ‘Yo Perreo Sola’ video is the stuff VMA fodder is made of.
Not only is it visually appealing, but it pushes a social envelope that few of his male counterparts would dare. Yet, our friends at MTV felt it best to limit the clip’s representation to the “Latin” category on this year’s list of nods.
She may have rocked the house with the song’s first live iteration at the 2019 VMAs, but that didn’t do Normani any favors when the list of 2020 nominees was printed.
Upon its debut late last year, the Dave Meyers-directed clip for ‘Motivation’ had tongues wagging for its high-octane choreography. Fittingly, that’s the category it was nominated in for this year’s ceremony.
However, we would’ve appreciated a bit more recognition.
Dua Lipa’s ‘Break My Heart’
In all fairness, Dua Lipa is well represented on this year’s list of nods as she was credited four nominations (Best Choreography, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Direction).
However, a few heads (ours included) were tilted and scratched when ‘Break My Heart’ wasn’t named as the video beside said nominations despite being the most visually arresting among its era’s releases.
Only ‘Physical’ and ‘Don’t Start Now’ nabbed nods.
Harry Styles’ ‘Adore You’
Harry Styles‘ ‘Adore You’ is unquestionably one of the most memorable male music videos of the past 10 years. As such, it made sense to see it listed in the ‘Best Art Direction,’ ‘Best Direction,’ and ‘Best Visual Effects’ categories.
However, the wins – if any of them are awarded – would not go to Harry but would instead sit on the mantels of the team who engineered the video.
As one of the standout male Pop performers of the day, we can’t help but shake our head that he didn’t receive any artist nods.
Beyoncé’s ‘Spirit’ was an engaging affair chockfull of gripping cinematography, costuming, choreography, and breathtaking views of natural Arizona scenery.
The ‘Lion King: The Gift’-lifted tune’s video was praised by critics as an unapologetic homage to Mother Africa – a theme that dominates its parent visual project, ‘Black Is King‘ (click here to see the trailer).
We guess the lauding stopped there, for ‘Spirit’ must be invisible if it is listed among this year’s MTV VMA nominees.
Chris Brown & Drake’s ‘No Guidance’
Chris Brown and Drake made headlines for putting their longstanding beef aside to create one of 2019’s biggest R&B hits, ‘No Guidance.’
Thanks to its comedic, yet cinematic music video, the tune became Brown’s highest charting hit in over a decade (click here to read more). A list the clip apparently did not chart high on was the shortlist for MTV’s 2020 VMAs.
Given its release date (which was after last year’s cut off for nods but before the 2019 ceremony), it’s easy to believe the video – which is among Brown’s best – was just forgotten in the fray.
Lil Nas X’s ‘Panini’
After earning an out-of-this-world hit with his debut single, ‘Old Town Road,’ It was only fitting Lil Nas X would deliver an out-of-this-world music video for its intergalactic follow-up, ‘Panini.’
Directed by Mike Diva, the clip – which famously guest stars Skai Jackson – saw X ramp up budget, choreography, and costumes.
The collection of moves must’ve left the peeps at MTV unimpressed as ‘Panini’ was not listed among this year’s Moonmen contenders.
Camila Cabello’s ‘My Oh My’
While Camila’s ‘My Oh My’ did nab a nomination in the ‘Best Cinematography’ category, it – like ‘Liar’ before it – was one of the most engaging visual offerings of the last year. The consistency is not only a nod to Camila, but also to the two clips’ director – Dave Meyers.
The songs that accompanied the videos may have not made the most enduring impact on the Hot 100, but there is no denying the cinematic quality housed in their promotional visuals.
Megan Thee Stallion & Normani – ‘Diamonds’
Mallet-wielding mavens Megan Thee Stallion and Normani may not have knocked ‘Diamonds’ out of the Hot 100 park, but the visual was a clear homerun.
The first single from the flightless ‘Birds of Prey’ soundtrack, ‘Diamonds’ video served everything fans needed it to be and more: high octane choreography, costuming, action, and a jaw-dropping set. This is why our jaws dropped when we didn’t see the video shining amongst VMA nominees.
Missy Elliott’s ‘Throw It Back’
Missy Elliott tapped director Daniel Russell to helm her comeback music video for ‘Throw It Back.’
A visual affair that rightfully sits beside some of the Hip Hop legend’s best clips ever, elements from the video were reenacted live at last year’s VMA when she took the stage to accept the VMA Video Vanguard Award.
We definitely would have appreciated seeing her name somewhere on the coveted list of nods.
Other honorable mentions include:
- Pussycat Dolls – ‘React’
- Selena Gomez’ – ‘Boyfriend’
- Teyana Taylor – ‘How You Want It?’
- Roddy Ricch – ‘The Box’ (for Video of the Year)
- Sam Smith & Demi Lovato – ‘I’m Ready’
- Megan Thee Stallion, Nicki Minaj, & Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Hot Girl Summer’
- Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Miley Cyrus – ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’