12 Music Videos That Didn’t Get the VMAs Love They Deserved

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A moment of silence, please, for the fantastic music videos that tried their best but just weren’t good enough for the VMAs.

We of course remember the videos that win big at the VMAs every year — we’ve already ranked a good chunk of those — but what of the forgotten greats? We’re talking the videos that received no major nominations or no nominations at all. The videos that were undoubtedly the best video the year of their release but still, for some reason, did not take home the Video of the Year Moonman. What of those videos?

In an unprecedented show of collaboration, the editors of Celebuzz put our heads together and came up with a list of 12 videos that, though incredible, did not win all of the the Video Music Awards Moonmen they so deserved. Pour one out for…

M.I.A. – “Bad Girls” (2012)

“Bad Girls” was nominated for VOTY in 2012 but lost to Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” It did pick up two Moonmen, one for Best Direction and the other for Best Cinematography, technical (though deserved) wins that unfortunately act as a weak salve for a deep burn. “Bad Girls” is really everything we should want in a video: it’s eye-catching, it’s original, it adds a new dimension to the song, and it’s ultimately a (pop) political statement. Mostly, though, it is just so f***ing cool. More than three years after its release, I still think of it regularly. The image of Maya filing her nails while she sits atop a drifting car propped up on its drivers’ side wheels will forever be emblazoned on my mind. What’s more impressive is that none of these incredible stunts were done with green screens or computers; so, yes, that’s really Maya sitting on top of a car that is really drifting down the road. (After filming, she explained that she feared she might lose limbs during the shoot.) You would never know it while watching, though; she looks cool, calm, collected, and badass as all hell. - Matt

Lady Gaga – “Telephone” feat. Beyoncé (2010)

I love everything about 2010’s “Telephone,” and you probably do too. From the half-smoked cigarette glasses, Coke can hair rollers, Beyoncé as Honey Bee, the prison fights, the make-out session, the dance sequences, American flag fashion… (Need I say more? Just watch it.) we really see the pure brilliance that is Gaga. Plus, it makes a really good case for irrational headpieces. One reason why it didn’t win is because Gaga’s other brilliant video for “Bad Romance” took the VOTY prize, but it did take home the Best Collaboration award. Oh, and let’s not forget the best words of wisdom ever bestowed unto the public by a music video: “Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broke, but you can still see the crack in that motherf*cker’s reflection.” Gaga iconically accepted all 8 of her awards that year in a dress made of raw meat. – Kaitlyn

Fatboy Slim – “Weapon of Choice” (2001)

Spike Jonze + Christopher Walken + dancing = a hella good time. I dare someone to watch this video without cracking a smile. Walken is an amazing actor and his performance here definitely shows just how versatile he actually is. However, 2001 had plenty of good contenders for Video of the Year and this gem ultimately lost to “Lady Marmalade.” No worries though — “Weapon of Choice” ended up taking home six Moonmen. #Iconic. - Gabi

George Michael – “Faith” (1987)

Unbelievably, George Michael’s “Faith” was never nominated for an MTV VMA in 1988. The song and video pushed Michael’s solo career to the next level. The iconic video features Michael wearing aviator shades, his trademark stubble, a leather jacket, a very fitting pair Levi’s blue jeans and cowboy boots, while playing a guitar near a classic-design Wurlitzer jukebox. The video failed to gain any MTV VMA nominations. – Michael

Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (2012)

It’s not her first music video ever, but it was the first video 99.9 percent of the world saw when we heard “Call Me Maybe” for the first time in 2012. The video received plenty of parodies, including one from CRJ’s friends Justin Bieber, Ashley Tisdale and Selena Gomez. MTV did name the track 2012’s Song of the Year. But what, no love for the video? – Peggy

Sam Smith – “Lay Me Down” (2015)

Sam Smith, a master of evoking stronger emotions than a hair flip from a generic boy-bander, tugs at the heartstrings with his video for “Lay Me Down”. Director Ryan Hope guides the viewer on an emotional journey beginning at a funeral, slowing through a wedding, and finishing in Smith’s solitude in a single take. The singer challenged the status quo on marriage equality just months before the SCOTUS ruling in June, filming the video in a London church where gay marriage is still outlawed. – Mia

Lana Del Rey – “Born To Die” (2011)

Lana Del Rey’s buzzy first single, “Video Games,” came with a self-made clip compiled of vintage found-footage. She followed it up with the big, splashy video for “Born to Die,” which is still one of her most gorgeous and ambitious. The Woodkid-directed clip is a thing of beauty as well as a perfect distillation of every aesthetic and theme Lana holds dear in her art. Lonely Queen Lana strolls the ornate rooms of an empty palace (a metaphor for heaven). Lana and her bad boyfriend (sexy male model Bradley Soileau) make out on the hood of a vintage car. Tigers, flower crowns, and throat-slitting motions, oh my! And for the video’s visually-stunning climax: a slow zoom away from Bradley, holding Lana’s bloody, lifeless body in his arms, as the fiery wreckage in the background illuminates their bodies. “Born to Die” was nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography. It won neither; it was born to lose. – Matt

No Doubt – “It’s My Life” (2003)

No Doubt’s video for their Talk Talk’s cover “It’s My Life” won Best Group Performance and Best Pop Video and scored 5 nominations in total at the 2004 MTV VMAs, but not one for VOTY. Set in the 1930’s, Gwen Stefani plays a glamorous but murderous femme fatale put on trial and ultimately sentenced to death for her crimes of passion, which were intended to look like accidents. We see her crazed defiance against the court interspersed with scenes of her victim’s as they take their last breaths. – Kaitlyn

Janet Jackson – “Together Again” (1997)

In the video for her hit “Together Again,” Janet Jackson reminisces over a friend she lost from AIDS in a touching dance tribute to spiritual healing. The video, directed by Seb Janiak, shows Jackson and her dancers performing in a futuristic African paradise where people are seen living side by side with wild animals such as elephants, giraffes, and wildcats. It was nominated for Best Dance Video in 1998 and lost to Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up.” - Michael

OK Go – “Here It Goes Again” (2006)

Filmed in one single continuous take, OK Go’s “Here I Goes Again” featured a choreographed dance routine performed by the band on treadmills. Proving that it was way ahead of its time, the music video also became a viral sensation — back before Taylor Swift was breaking Vevo records — with 50 million views and nabbed itself the title of Most Creative Video at the first-ever YouTube Awards. Unfortunately, MTV wasn’t so kind to the band and “Here It Goes Again” was not nominated for a single VMA. The network did ask the band to perform the dance during the telecast though, which was basically like handing someone a participation ribbon at a Little League game. For the record: Panic! At the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” won Video of the Year that year. Do you even remember what that video looked like? Yeah, me neither.  – Gabi

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda” (2014)

Underrated Element: Best Supporting Artist: Drake’s Lap Dance Chair

The chair that Drake sits upon while Nicki Minaj gives him a lap dance deserves accolade for supporting the weight of Drake and his regret of splitting with Minaj against her 8.9-magnitude earthquake of a booty clap. “Anaconda” was famously not nominated for VOTY despite breaking the Vevo 24-hour view count record. – Mia

Spice Girls – “Viva Forever” (1998)

Except for “Wannabee,” the VMAs have never really been kind to the Spice Girls. In their heyday, the group received a mere two nominations and they were both for tracks from the group’s debut album in 1997. The following year, “Viva Forever” the music video came out. What’s not to love about Sporty, Ginger, Baby, Posh and Scary as stop motion animated fairies? Is it because the video made no absolute sense? Or were people bitter because it was the last time Geri Halliwell would appear in a Spice Girls music video? Rewatch it and feel those warm tears down your face. – Peggy

Are there any other videos you love that didn’t get the VMAs love they so rightly deserved? Well, join the club. And/or leave a comment and tell us what we missed.