The MTV VMA 2021 Nominations are here!

The MTV VMA 2021 Nominations are here!

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The MTV VMA 2021 Nominations are here!

After a year chock-full of hits, the 2021 awards are anyone's guess.

After a year chock-full of hits, the 2021 awards are anyone's guess.

Text: Bailey Bujnosek

The 2021 MTV Video Music Awards are just around the corner, which means it’s time to start speculating winners, celebrating nominees, and criticizing snubs based on this year’s list of nominees. Leading the pack with a grand total of seven nominations is Justin Bieber—though Megan Thee Stallion’s six nominations put her close behind the Canadian artist. Five nominations seem to be the average for the rest of this year’s hottest artists, including pop sensations like Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, and Doja Cat, as well as veteran chart-toppers BTS, Lil Nas X, and Drake. Rising R&B artist Giveon also nabbed five noms, making it a seven-way tie for third-most nominations. These stats should come as no surprise to even the infrequent radio listener, given that the above artists created inescapable hits this past year. 

With tracks like “WAP,” “Levitating,” and “Dynamite,” running against one another, the “Song of the Year” category promises to be a shocker. “Artist of the Year” is no easier to predict. For Ariana Grande, the category is the biggest of the three nominations she received for her well-received album Positions. The much-coveted “Video of the Year” category, meanwhile, pits cultural resets like the films for Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and Doja Cat ft. SZA’s “Kiss Me More” against Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s viral “WAP” video. 

Newcomers have also received a fair share of recognition from the VMAs this year. Artists Polo G, Saweetie of the future McDonald’s meal, and Australia native The Kid Laroi are among the competitors for “Best New Artist.” Doja Cat snagged victory in the category last year. Other newbies staking their claims at the awards this year include Norwegian singer-songwriter girl in red and silk-voiced TikTok breakout star Fousheé. Madison Beer, a presenter at last year’s awards, also landed a nomination. “Selfish,” a track from her debut studio album Life Support, is in the running for “Push Performance of the Year.”

This year’s ceremony will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Sunday, September 12, one day after the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. To honor the victims of the attacks, the VMAs will be collaborating with nonprofit 9/11 Day on several events meant to encourage remembrance, awareness, and positive action around the day.

Image courtesy of MTV

Another new collaborator for the 2021 VMAs: visual artist Kehinde Wiley, best known as the painter behind Barack Obama’s official portrait. Wiley reimagined the classic MTV Moonperson trophy, adding foliage and florals symbolic of growth, inclusivity, and interconnectedness. Not only is the trophy transformed by his design, but a full-sized statue of the new Moonperson is on display at the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex.

View the full list of 2021 VMA nominees below, and vote for your favorite artists here.

 

Video of the Year

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion: “WAP” – Atlantic Records

DJ Khaled ft. Drake: “Popstar” (Starring Justin Bieber) – OVO / We The Best / Epic Records

Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records

Ed Sheeran: “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records

The Weeknd: “Save Your Tears” – XO / Republic Records

Artist of the Year

Ariana Grande – Republic Records

Doja Cat – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records

Justin Bieber – Def Jam

Megan Thee Stallion – 300 Entertainment

Olivia Rodrigo – Geffen Records

Taylor Swift – Republic Records

Song of the Year

24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior: “Mood” – Records LLC / Columbia Records

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment / Atlantic Records

BTS: “Dynamite” – Bighit Music

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion: “WAP” – Atlantic Records

Dua Lipa: “Levitating” – Warner Records

Olivia Rodrigo: “Drivers License” – Geffen Records

Best New Artist

24kGoldn – Records LLC / Columbia Records

Giveon – Epic Records / Not So Fast

The Kid Laroi – Columbia Records

Olivia Rodrigo – Geffen Records

Polo G – Columbia Records

Saweetie – Warner Records

Push Performance of the Year

Wallows: "Are You Bored Yet?" – Atlantic Records

Ashnikko: "Daisy" – Warner Records

Saint Jhn: "Gorgeous" – Godd Complexx / HITCO

24kGoldn: "Coco" – Records LLC / Columbia Records

JC Stewart: "Break My Heart" – Elektra Music Group

Latto: "Sex Lies" – RCA Records

Madison Beer: "Selfish" – Epic Records / Sing It Loud

The Kid Laroi: "Without You" – Columbia Records

Olivia Rodrigo: "Drivers License" – Geffen Records

Girl in Red: "Serotonin" – World in Red / AWAL

Fousheé: "My Slime" – RCA Records

Jxdn: “Think About Me” – DTA Records / Elektra Music Group

Best Collaboration

24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior: “Mood” – Records LLC / Columbia Records

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion: “WAP” – Atlantic Records

Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records

Drake ft. Lil Durk: “Laugh Now Cry Later” – OVO / Republic Records

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon: “Peaches” – Def Jam

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa: “Prisoner” – RCA Records

Best Pop

Ariana Grande: “Positions” – Republic Records

Billie Eilish: “Therefore I Am” – Darkroom / Interscope Records

BTS: “Butter” – Bighit Music

Harry Styles: “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon: “Peaches” – Def Jam

Olivia Rodrigo: “Good 4 U” – Geffen Records

Shawn Mendes: “Wonder” – Island Records

Taylor Swift: “Willow” – Republic Records

Best Hip-Hop

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion: “WAP” – Atlantic Records

Drake ft. Lil Durk: “Laugh Now Cry Later” – OVO / Republic Records

Lil Baby ft. Megan Thee Stallion: “On Me (remix)” – Quality Control / Motown

Moneybagg Yo – “Said Sum” – N-Less Entertainment / Interscope Records

Polo G: “Rapstar” – Columbia Records

Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A.: “Franchise” – Cactus Jack / Epic Records

Best Rock

Evanescence: “Use My Voice” – BMG

Foo Fighters: “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records

John Mayer: “Last Train Home” – Columbia Records

The Killers: “My Own Soul's Warning” – Island

Kings Of Leon: “The Bandit” – RCA Records

Lenny Kravitz: “Raise Vibration” – Roxie Records / BMG

Best Alternative

Bleachers: “Stop Making This Hurt” – RCA Records

Glass Animals: “Heat Waves” – Republic Records

Imagine Dragons: “Follow You” – Kidinakorner / Interscope Records

Machine Gun Kelly ft. Blackbear: “My Ex’s Best Friend” – Bad Boy / Interscope Records

Twenty-One Pilots: “Shy Away” – Fueled By Ramen

Willow ft. Travis Barker: “Transparent Soul” – MSFTSMusic / Roc Nation

Best Latin

Bad Bunny x Jhay Cortez: “Dákiti” – The Orchard

Billie Eilish & Rosalía: “Lo Vas A Olvidar” – Darkroom / Interscope Records

Black Eyed Peas and Shakira: “Girl Like Me” – Epic Records

Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Tainy: “Un Die (One Day)” – Universal Music Latino / Neon16

Karol G: “Bichota” – Universal Music Latino

Maluma: “Hawái” – Sony Music US Latin

Best R&B

Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, Saint Jhn, WizKid: “Brown Skin Girl” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment / Atlantic Records

Chris Brown and Young Thug: “Go Crazy” – Chris Brown Entertainment/RCA Records

Giveon: “Heartbreak Anniversary” – Epic Records / Not So Fast

H.E.R. ft. Chris Brown: “Come Through” - MBK Entertainment / RCA Records

SZA: “Good Days” – Top Dawg Entertainment / RCA Records

Best K-pop

(G)I-DLE: “Dumdi Dumdi” – Republic Records

Blackpink and Selena Gomez: “Ice Cream” – YG Entertainment / Interscope Records

BTS – “Butter” – Bighit Music

Monsta X: “Gambler” – Starship Entertainment

Seventeen: “Ready to love” – Pledis Entertainment

Twice: “Alcohol-Free” – JYP Entertainment Company

Video For Good

Billie Eilish: “Your Power” – Darkroom / Interscope Records

Demi Lovato: “Dancing With the Devil” – Island

H.E.R.: “Fight For You” – MBK Entertainment / RCA Records

Kane Brown: “Worldwide Beautiful” – Sony Music Nashville / RCA Records

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records

Pharrell Williams ft. Jay-Z: “Entrepreneur” – Columbia Records

Best Direction

Billie Eilish: “Your Power” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Directed by: Billie Eilish

DJ Khaled ft. Drake: “Popstar (Starring Justin Bieber)” – OVO / We The Best / Epic Records – Directed by: Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Directed by: Lil Nas X and Tanu Muino

Taylor Swift: “Willow” – Republic Records – Directed by: Taylor Swift

Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A: “Franchise” – Cactus Jack / Epic Records – Directed by: Travis Scott

Tyler, The Creator: “Lumberjack” – Columbia Records – Directed by: Wolf Haley

Best Cinematography

Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid: “Brown Skin Girl” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records – Cinematography by: Benoit Soler, Malik H. Sayeed, Mohammaed Atta Ahmed, Santiago Gonzalez, Ryan Helfant

Billie Eilish: “Therefore I Am” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Cinematography by: Rob Witt

Foo Fighters: “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records – Cinematography by: Santiago Gonzalez

Justin Bieber ft. Chance The Rapper: “Holy” – RBMG / Def Jam – Cinematography by: Elias Talbot

Lady Gaga: “911” – Interscope Records – Cinematography by: Jeff Cronenweth

Lorde: “Solar Power” – Republic Records – Cinematography by: Andrew Stroud

Best Art Direction

Beyoncé, Shatta Wale, Major Lazer: “Already” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records – Art Direction by: Susan Linns, Gerard Santos

Ed Sheeran: “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records – Art Direction by: Alison Dominitz

Lady Gaga: “911” – Interscope Records – Art Direction by: Tom Foden, Peter Andrus

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Art Direction by: John Richoux

Saweetie ft. Doja Cat: “Best Friend” – Warner Records – Art Direction by: Alec Contestabile

Taylor Swift – “Willow” – Republic Records – Art Direction by: Ethan Tobman, Regina Fernandez

Best Visual Effects

Bella Poarch: “Build a Bitch” – Warner Records – Visual Effects by: Andrew Donoho, Denhov Visuals, Denis Strahhov, Rein Jakobson, Vahur Kuusk, Tatjana Pavlik, Yekaterina Vetrova

Coldplay: “Higher Power” – Atlantic Records – Visual Effects by: Mathematic

Doja Cat & The Weeknd – “You Right” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records – Visual Effects by: La Pac, Anthony Lestremau, Julien Missaire, Petr Shkolniy, Alexi Bailla, Micha Sher, Antoine Hache, Mikros MPC, Nicolas Huget, Guillaume Ho Tsong Fang, Benjamin Lenfant, Stephane Pivron, MPC Bangalore, Chanakya Chander, Raju Ganesh, David Rouxel

Glass Animals: “Tangerine” – Republic Records – Visual Effects by: Ronan Fourreau

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Visual Effects by: Mathematic

P!nk: “All I Know So Far” – RCA Records – Visual Effects by: BUF, VFX Supervisors: Dominique Vidal & Geoffrey Niquet, VFX Producers: Annabelle Zoellin & Camille Gibrat

Best Choreography

Ariana Grande – “34+35” – Republic Records – Choreography by: Brian Nicholson & Scott Nicholson

BTS – “Butter” – Bighit Music – Choreography by: Son Sung with BHM Performance Directing Team

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records – Choreography by: Natricia Bernard

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records – Choreography by: Nina McNeely

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records

Marshmello & Halsey – “Be Kind” – Astralwerks / Capitol Records – Choreography by: Dani Vitale

Best Editing

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment/Atlantic Records – Editing by: Troy Charbonnet

BTS: “Butter” – Bighit Music – Editing by: Yong Seok Choi from Lumpens

Drake: “What's Next” – OVO / Republic Records – Editing by: Noah Kendal

Harry Styles: “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon: “Peaches” – Def Jam

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa: “Prisoner” – RCA Records

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