Rihanna, Katy… Carly Rae: Five Observations About the MTV Video Music Award Nominees

Rihanna and Drake, nominated for the “Take Care” video

This morning brought MTV’s announcement of its Video Music Awards nominees, with established pop artists like Rihanna and Katy Perry competing with upstarts like Gotye and girl-of-the-moment Carly Rae Jepsen. In the marquee category, Video of the Year, the nominees are:

  • Drake ft. Rihanna, “Take Care”
  • Gotye ft. Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used to Know”
  • M.I.A., “Bad Girls”
  • Katy Perry, “Wide Awake”
  • Rihanna, “We Found Love”

That’s two Rihanna videos (essentially), a lushly overproduced Perryish fantasy of the sort that won last year (with “Firework”), a low-fi YouTube hit, and one completely left-field choice (remember Florence + the Machine first breaching American shores in this category?).

Other notable calls:

  • Katy Perry is nominated in “Best Female Video” for a different video, the paramilitary recruiting film “Part of Me” (this is more notably female than “Wide Awake” only according to Lady Macbeth’s dictum “Unsex me here” as she strides into battle)
  • Critical favorite Frank Ocean is up against three boy bands of varying degrees of boy-bandness and Ms. Jepsen in Best New Artist
  • There’s now a category for “Electronic Dance Music Video”
  • As noted on Twitter, Lil Wayne’s devotional ballad to a stripper “How to Love” got nominated as “Best Video With a Message.”
  • While Lady Gaga’s nowhere to be found on the nominations list, internet punching bag Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” got a few professional nominations. Did you know there’s a cinematography category at the VMAs?