The 2014 VMAs Video Of The Year Award Nominees Are All Wrong — The Real Video of the Year Is...
"Fancy" makes me nostalgic for the Clueless-quoting '90s. "Chandelier" makes me want to bust out my best dance moves in a grungy bedroom. "Happy" makes me happy. "Wrecking Ball" makes me sad (and a little uncomfortable). And Beyoncé is, well, Beyoncé. These are the 2014 VMA Videos of the Year, as decided by the shadowy nominating forces behind MTV's Video Music Awards. When the VMAs air on Sunday, August 24, one of these artists will be crowned a winner and take home a coveted moonman statue. But are these really the very best videos of the year?
While it's certainly a strong group, it's not really going out on a limb to say that there are some great videos from the past year that MTV missed entirely. I rounded up some of my personal favorites to put together an (entirely subjective) set of alternatives. Among them, you will find two Oscar nominees (one winner), four child stars (all female), and one really, really long shot (in every sense of the word). These videos may not be nominated for Video of the Year — or have any VMA nominations, for the most part — but they're award-worthy in my mind.
The Feature-Film Director Goes Short: "Hot Knife" by Fiona Apple
Some of the best movie directors got their start in — and still occasionally dabble in — music videos. That's certainly the case with director Paul Thomas Anderson, who followed up The Master with Fiona Apple's "Hot Knife" video. Anderson starts simple, with just a black-and-white close-up, and gets jazzier as the song gets more complex — and his close-ups are reminiscent of the "Criminal" video in all the best ways.
The Live Performance/Video Hybrid: "Afterlife" by Arcade Fire
Okay, so "Afterlife" by Arcade Fire is actually nominated for a VMA for Best Cinematography — you know, one of those categories that we don't vote on and they don't televise. But, even then, it's the official music video that's got the nod. While the official video is really cool, I prefer this unofficial video — a filmed live performance from the YouTube Music Awards (whatever that is). And who wouldn't like this one better? It was directed by Spike Jonze, one of the greatest music-video directors of all time, and stars Greta Gerwig doing adorable Frances Ha-esque dance moves.
The Indie Rock Video That Never Had a Chance in Hell: "Avocado, Baby" by Los Campesinos
I'm a sucker for long takes. (Yes, I was one of those people who freaked out during the crazy long shot in True Detective .) This video is all one take, and a complicated one at that. (And the song is pretty darn catchy, too.) I realize this never was in contention for a Video Music Award because Los Campesinos! doesn't have the fan base that Iggy Azalea has, but this is probably my favorite video of the year. Fun fact: It was directed by Craig Roberts, the star of Submarine. (He also had small parts in Neighbors and 22 Jump Street this year.)
The Fingers-Crossed-for-Next-Year Pick: "Just One of the Guys" by Jenny Lewis
With appearances by Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, and Brie Larson (in drag, no less), there's enough star power here for a Video Music Award, right? I'm hoping this one is just a victim of timing, coming out past the eligibility period. In any case, the way they all dress like dudes and mug at the camera is utterly delightful.
Image: Jenny Lewis/YouTube (Screengrab)