The MTV Video Music Awards are just a few short days away, and though there is all sorts of buzz surrounding the performances, the parties and the New York-centric stunts that will be happening all this week into Sunday’s broadcast, it’s important to remember that the reason the biggest stars in music will gather in Radio City Music Hall is to see who wins the coveted Moonman in each of the 15 categories. We’ll be taking a look at each of the top categories this week, starting today with the Best Male Video award. The nominees are Eminem’s “We Made You,” Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” T.I.’s “Live Your Life,” Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent” and Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown.”
Best Male Video has been around since the first Video Music Awards in 1984, where David Bowie’s “China Girl” beat out Billy Joel, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock and Michael Jackson for the prize. Past winners of the award include legends like Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Will Smith and Beck, as well as recent noisemakers Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake.
Two of the men nominated for the award this year have already won it, as Eminem took home the Moonman for Best Male Video at 2000’s event for “The Real Slim Shady” and again in 2002 for “Without Me,” while Kanye West took home the Best Male Video prize in 2005 for “Jesus Walks.” Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” snagged a nomination for Best Male Video in 2004 but lost out to Usher (though he still grabbed four awards — including Best Rap Video — that same year). This is the fourth consecutive Best Male nomination for T.I. (who has never won a Moonman in any category) and the second year in a row that Ne-Yo has been nominated for an award (he lost out to Pussycat Dolls in the Best Dancing in a Video category).
Of the five videos, Jay-Z’s is the newest and the one with the most buzz. “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” is on The Blueprint 3, which hits the streets today. The next newest comes from Eminem, whose album dropped earlier this year and whose first single “We Made You” announced the return of Slim Shady to the top of the music world. The other three clips all come from 2008 albums (Kanye West’s performance of “Love Lockdown” even closed last year’s show). So it seems like it will be a showdown between Eminem and Jigga, though the person who has the best chance of scoring a Moonman in this category is director Anthony Mandler, who helmed both “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” and T.I.’s “Live Your Life.”