Madonna Snags Six Moonman Trophies At MTV Video Awards

Former Material Girl is night's big winner; Prodigy, Will Smith and Aerosmith each win two times.

LOS ANGELES -- All in all, it was Madonna's night.

The artist formerly known as the Material Girl was the big winner at the

1998 MTV Video Music Awards, held in Los Angeles at Universal Amphitheatre

on Thursday, taking home six Moonman trophies, all but one of which was for

the video to the title track of her latest album, Ray of Light.

The show, which aired live at 8 p.m. on the East Coast, was hosted by

actor Ben Stiller. It marked MTV's 15th annual awards event honoring artists,

directors and producers involved in making music videos and featured

classic performances by today's most popular stars.

Madonna also snagged the second-biggest award of the night, Video of the

Year. The night's top honor, the Video Vanguard Award, went to

punk-rappers the Beastie Boys. Making a surprise appearance at the show was recently departed Spice Girl Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell, who

presented Madonna with the Video of the Year award.

"They've been supportive of me my entire career," Madonna said, referring

to the music television channel, while standing at the podium in the press

tent after accepting her award in the main auditorium.

Nominated for nine awards, Madonna also provided one of the standout

performances of the night, beginning with her song "Shanti/Ashtangi," sung in the

ancient Sanskrit language. The rendition featured dancers in Indian

garb in the background while Madonna, with her hair dyed dark, sang in

the forefront, dressed entirely in black. She then stripped down to a tank

top and pants and launched into her joyful dance number "Ray of Light,"

joined onstage by soulful rocker Lenny Kravitz on guitar and a pack of

writhing dancers.

Kravitz wasn't the only surprise performer of the night. Chart-topping

rapper Snoop Dogg joined his new No Limit label boss Master P

for a lively version of the song "Make Em Say Uhh."

After an introduction by basketballer and occasional rapper Shaquille

O'Neal, Master P slid down a fire pole and onto the stage, where he was soon

joined by his fellow No Limit soldiers, including the latest addition, Snoop, all wearing white No Limit jerseys with red pinstripes. Backed by a host

of cheerleaders clad in blue silk tops and slit skirts, Master P worked

through a fist-pumping version of his smash hit.

Finally breaking their losing streak, San Francisco Bay Area punksters Green Day, who'd

been shut out 13 times previously, took home Best Alternative Music Video

for their folksy punk tune "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)."

Honored with the Video Vanguard Award, the Beastie Boys delivered a mix of their songs "Intergalactic" and "Three MCs and One DJ," both

off their smash-selling album Hello Nasty,

wearing red jumpsuits and backed by famed DJ Mixmaster Mike. Their

performance was one of the most highly anticipated moments of the night,

even by the likes of Garbage's Shirley Manson and seminal rapper Chuck D,

both of whom said they were anxious to catch the punk-rap trio in action.

The always unpredictable Marilyn Manson gave a typically outrageous performance

of the song "The Dope Show" -- from his upcoming album Mechanical

Animals -- to follow up his closing performance at last year's awards.

Decked out in his androgynous best, Marilyn Manson wore a pale turquoise

suit with what could be called breast outplants. Backed by a chorus of

female singers shimmering in gold sequined dresses, he delivered a

glammed-out version of the song, which ended with a swarm of cops dressed

in pink crowding the stage.

"I'm jealous of Marilyn Manson's ass," host Stiller remarked after

witnessing the display.

On the other end of the spectrum, R&B divas Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston

co-presented the Best Male Video award wearing the exact same brown

floor-length dress. The award went to Will Smith for his song "Just the Two

Of Us."

Presenting an award with piano songstress Tori Amos was hip-hop folk-rocker Beck,

who came clad in a gray suit and wrap-around orange shades. Beck

mimed having sex with a drum machine, via a series of robotic maneuvers

that seemed to leave Amos a bit taken aback.

Australian pop singer Natalie Imbruglia took home the award for Best New

Artist in a Video for her song "Torn." The award was presented by previous

nominees, the pop-rock Hanson brothers trio. "There's something about

coming from Australia, this little island, and having success in America,"

a grateful Imbruglia said in the press tent as she clutched her Moonman.

Though no one else took home Madonna's whopping six awards, there were a

few two-time winners.

While electro-punkers Prodigy won the Breakthrough Video and Dance Video

Awards for "Smack My Bitch Up," legendary hard-rockers Aerosmith scored

trophies for Best Rock Video for "Pink" and Best Video from a Film for "I

Don't Want To Miss a Thing."

Standing in the press room after their win, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler

suggested that "Best Rock Video" may be too narrow a category for his band.

"I think one of the reasons for the longevity of Aerosmith is the ability

to combine it all, make it all work, all the insanities," he said as he stood

with his bandmates.

Rapper/actor Will Smith also won two awards: Best Male Video for "Just

the Two of Us"

and Best Rap Video for "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."

Some artists used their acceptance speeches as a platform for social and

political commentary. Haitian-born Fugees guitarist Wyclef Jean, who won

Best R&B Video for his song "Gone Till November," commented that the film

"How Stella Got Her Groove Back" contains a joking reference that

associates the AIDS virus with his native country.

"AIDS is a crisis, not a mother-freaking comedy," said Wyclef, who is

featured on the film's soundtrack on a song collaboration with Stevie

Wonder.

"That's the only time you have with everyone watching," Wyclef said

afterward of his decision to address the issue. "I stand for peace and love

for all humanity. We've got to start killing stereotypes."

In one of the evening's standout performances, Hole went live with the

Hollywood-inspired title track to Celebrity Skin, which was released

on Tuesday. All rock-starred out in black leather pants and a black low-cut

top, frontwoman Courtney Love frequently let her guitar hang idle down her

back as she focused on singing and acting out the song underneath a steady

stream of falling confetti. She snarled her best Love snarl and sang

angrily into the mic.

Love later turned up in the press room to answer questions.

"No testicles," she ordered as she took the podium, indicating that she'd

only answer questions from female reporters.

"All three bad reviews were personal," she also said, speaking of the

response to Celebrity Skin.

Despite her less than welcoming approach to the evening, Love garnered a

new fan or two during the night. "I'd be dancing behind that girl from

Hole," Shaquille O'Neal said in the press tent. "She's so hot, the lead

singer."

Hot or not, this was still Madonna's night.



MTV 1998 Video Music Award winners:

Video of the Year

Madonna for "Ray of Light"

Male Video

Will Smith for "Just the Two of Us"

Female Video

Madonna for "Ray of Light"

Group Video

Backstreet Boys for "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"

Rap Video

Will Smith for "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"

Dance Video

Prodigy for "Smack My Bitch Up"

Rock Video

Aerosmith for "Pink"

Alternative Music Video

Green Day for "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)"

New Artist in a Video

Natalie Imbruglia for "Torn"

Video From a Film

Aerosmith for "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

R&B Video

Wyclef Jean featuring Refugee All-Stars for "Gone Till November"

Direction in a Video

Madonna for "Ray of Light"

Choreography in a Video

Madonna for "Ray of Light"

Special Effects in a Video

Madonna for "Frozen"

Art Direction in A Video

Björk for "Bachelorette"

Editing in a Video

Madonna for "Ray of Light"

Cinematography

Fiona Apple for "Criminal"

Breakthrough Video

Prodigy for "Smack My Bitch Up"

(SonicNet Contributing Editor Colin Devenish contributed to this report)