MTV Announces 1997 VMA Nominees

SERENA: Just a couple of hours before the Artist held his press conference, MTV held one of its own, at its new studio in Times Square, to announce the nominees for the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. Chris Rock, who will be hosting this year, was on hand, as was Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers -- who, by the way, have four nominations. The September 4th ceremony could prove be a very big night for Beck and Jamiroquai, based on Tuesday morning's announcement. Here's why.

JOHN NORRIS: How's the response been in the States up to now?

JAY KAY, Jamiroquai: I think it's become quite encouraging.

MTV: MTV's 1997 Video Music Awards also promises to be quite a source of encouragement for Jamiroquai, with the funky British band rounding up 10 nominations, including Best Video of the Year, a category that also pits Jewel against No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails and Beck.

BECK: Awards aren't the reason you make music, but acknowledgment is definitely encouraging. It makes you feel like maybe I'm going somewhat in the right direction.

MTV: Beck's compass these days points towards 7 nominations, with alterna-pop's golden boy vying against Nine Inch Nails for Best Alternative Video, a diverse category that also includes Blur, Foo Fighters and Sublime.

Trent Reznor's dark side actually lights up 5 categories this year, including Best Cinematography, with The Eels, Jamiroquai, and last year's big winners, the Smashing Pumpkins, rounding out the suspense.

Some of 1997's most heartfelt songs emanate from the Best R&B category, which includes Babyface with Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Toni Braxton, Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112, and BLACKstreet featuring Dr. Dre.

And while the Brits dominate Best Dance category, the Best New Artist is mostly an American affair, thanks to the teeny-bop sensation Hanson, fetching Fiona, The Wallflowers, and Meredith Brooks, the far from bitchy singer who takes an upbeat approach to video making.

MEREDITH BROOKS: You can have fun and have a meaning and a message at the same time. I think we're back to that. I think music and entertainment is cyclical. We're really back to a place where we want to have hope and fun.

ALTSCHUL: So you guys are up for Best Group Video against some of your friends... Adam Duritz, you're also up against Blur. What's that like, and what do you think of those videos?

JAKOB DYLAN, The Wallflowers: Well you know, Serena, things like this, friendships just don't really count for much. (They laugh) You just get in there and you just want to win, win, win.

[For a complete listing of the 1997 MTV Video Music Award Nominees, check out News Headlines]

SERENA: Beck, U2 and The Spice Girls are the first performers to be announced for the 1997 Video Music Awards, which once again, will be held Thursday, September 4th at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan.

Catch all the sizzlin', star-packed VMA action direct from Miami on August 28. MTV News' preshow kicks things off at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT, followed by big show at 8 p.m.

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