It may have been the year of 50 Cent, but he'll play second fiddle to Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake and country legend Johnny Cash heading into the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
Elliott led the pack with eight nominations for her eye-popping "Work It" video when the nods were announced Thursday morning (see "Lens Recap: The Story Behind Missy Elliott's 'Work It' "). The clip counts nominations for Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Hip-Hop Video and Best Direction in a Video among its stash.
Christina Aguilera and Coldplay were also unveiled as the first performers confirmed for the awards show when nominations were announced on Thursday.
Right behind Elliott with seven nominations is Justin Timberlake, who scored nods for his "Cry Me a River" and "Rock Your Body" clips. "Cry Me a River" drummed up five nominations, including Video of the Year, Best Male Video, Best Pop Video, Best Direction in a Video and Viewers' Choice.
Close behind with six nominations is the field's most unlikely VMA hero, country legend Johnny Cash. Director Mark Romanek's haunting clip for Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" is up for Video of the Year, Best Male Video and Best Direction in a Video, among others (see "Lens Recap: The Story Behind Johnny Cash's 'Hurt' ").
"I am overwhelmed by this great honor," Cash said in a written statement." I thank you all for thinking of me. It's been 48 years since I cut my first record and it's nice that people are still digging them up."
Elliott, Timberlake and Cash will tangle with the one-two punch of Eminem ("Lose Yourself") and 50 Cent ("In Da Club") for Video of the Year when the awards are handed out on August 28 in New York.
Em and 50 are also looking to have a big night, as each will head into this year's VMAs with five nominations. In addition to Video of the Year, Em's "Lose Yourself" is also up for Best Male Video, Best Rap Video, Best Video From a Film and Viewer's Choice. 50's "In Da Club" will try to steal a bit of Em's spotlight, as 50 will compete with his mentor for Video of the Year, Best Male Video, Best Rap Video and Viewer's Choice. The clip also nabbed 50 a nomination for Best New Artist.
Radiohead ("There There"), Jennifer Lopez ("I'm Glad"), Christina Aguilera ("Dirrty"), Beyoncé ("Crazy in Love") and the White Stripes ("Seven Nation Army") all garnered four nominations, as did Queens of the Stone Age, who spread their nominations out a bit; the group earned one nomination for "No One Knows" and three for "Go With the Flow."
Coldplay, Good Charlotte, Kelly Clarkson, Sean Paul, Floetry, Mya, No Doubt, Sum 41, Justin Timberlake, Kenna, Evanescence and Avril Lavigne also earned multiple nominations.
Once again, "new" might be a relative term when the year's Best New Artist is anointed. In addition to 50 Cent (who already feels like he's been around for years), the nominee field also includes Sean Paul, who released his first album three years ago before breaking through last year. Adding new blood to the Best New Artist hunt are Simple Plan, All-American Rejects, Evanescence and "American Idol" grad Kelly Clarkson.
Clarkson and 50 will also square off for this year's Viewer's Choice award, going up against Beyoncé, Eminem, Good Charlotte and Justin Timberlake.
Meanwhile, in less populist territory, the notion of art over commerce drives the noms for Breakthrough Video. Coldplay's "The Scientist," Floetry's "Floetic," Kenna's "Freetime," Queens of the Stone Age's "No One Knows" and Sum 41's "Hell Song" are up for this year's honor.
The 2003 fleet of Moonmen will be handed out August 28 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. The 2003 VMAs, hosted by Chris Rock, will be broadcast live on MTV at 8 p.m. ET. The show will be immediately preceded by MTV News' live pre-show coverage.
Catch all the sizzlin', star-packed VMA action direct from Miami on August 28. MTV News' preshow kicks things off at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the big show at 8 p.m.