Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Eminem Look Good For Best Cinematography: Better Know A VMA Category

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards are fast approaching, which means that in only a few weeks you’ll be treated to an excellent night of performances and appearances by the likes of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, B.o.B and Deadmau5 (who will serve as the house DJ at the show). While people tend to remember the classic performances and the unhinged moments, the coveted Moonman is the reason why people show up and tune in. This year, there are 16 categories wherein some of the biggest music stars in the universe will compete for the coolest trophy in awards shows. Today, we take a look at the nominees in the Best Cinematography category.

Though the main event of the music video tends to be the song, most should be able to work even if the sound is put on mute. That’s where cinematography comes into play. How does the clip look? Does it match the tone of the song? Does it fit the narrative being told? The MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography incorporates visual style, lighting, color composition and all the other visual cues that help tell the story. Past winners in this category include Bill Pope (who won for Sting’s “We’ll Be Together” and later shot “The Matrix” trilogy as well as the recent “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”), Harris Savides (who scored for both Madonna’s “Rain” and R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” and also worked on a trio of Gus Van Sant films as well as a pair of movies for fellow VMA winner David Fincher) and Lance Acord (whose collaborations with Spike Jonze include the video for Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” and the features “Being John Malkovich” and “Where the Wild Things Are”).

This year, there are five worthy nominees in Chris Probst (Eminem’s “Not Afraid”), Adam Frisch (Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over”), John Perez (Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”), Thomas Kloss (Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”) and Ben Magahy (Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man”). Each of them has a great deal of experience in them music video game, but this one seems like Kloss’ to lose. The striking visuals of “Bad Romance” are crisp, and the camera moves extremely well. However, don’t be surprised if dark horse John Perez and his gorgeous black-and-white images for “Empire State of Mind” come out on top. Either way, a truly visually striking clip will take home this particular Moonman, so everybody will come out a winner.

The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 12 at 9 p.m. ET.