Oh, yeah, Kanye West is also nominated for best video of the year at MTV's Video Music Awards, which will be bestowed on Sept. 13, but this is a VMA battle among Beyonce Knowles, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Eminem.
Kanye has never won. He was nominated for "Jesus Walks" in 2005 (losing to Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams") and for "Stronger" in 2007 (Rihanna clobbered him with her "Umbrella"). Of course, Rihanna also beat Beyonce ("Irreplaceable"), which was the latter's only other nomination in this category.
Eminem won this race twice: "Without Me" (2002) and "The Real Slim Shady" (2000). Britney won last year for "Piece of Me," but that was part of her industry-wide welcome-back-from-the crazy-house hug. Previously, she'd lost all 16 nominations in all MTV VMA categories.
There's a problem with looking back at past winners to predict who'll prevail this year. The voting process has changed radically through the years. Prior to 2006, winners were chosen by a hodgepodge of media hipsters tapped by MTV. Ballots were distributed willy-nilly among various folks like producers at E! Entertainment and VH1, etc. Then in 2006, all online voters got to decide.
Personally, I loved the outcome that year, but the victory by Panic! at the Disco ("I Write Sins Not Tragedies") was considered horribly, shockingly uncool, so voting was returned to hand-picked hipsters again in 2007 and 2008, but of a slightly different mix. This year democracy triumphs again as voting is being returned to the great unwashed.
A MTV rep explains to Gold Derby the latest voting process: "This year nominees were chosen by a voting academy which consists of label reps, management reps, press, production companies and a few talent 'tastemakers' plus 2,000 first-come, first-serve mtv.com account holders who signed up for mtv.com extras e-mails. Winners will be determined by the general public this year through voting on MTV.com and via mobile. The best new artist category will be open to the public and remain live into the show on Sept. 13."
Photo: Matt Sayles / Associated Press