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20 Awesome Music Videos That Got Shut Out at the MTV VMAs

Some of the most amazing music videos of all time were completely passed over at the Video Music Awards—even in the technical categories! From “Bad” to “Toxic” to “Otis,” check out 20 unforgettable visuals that went home with nary a Moonman

1 / 20

Madonna, “Material Girl” (1985)

Madge has been highly decorated through the MTV Video Music Awards’ history, but she started off her VMAs career with six straight losses, including two for her elaborate “Material Girl” clip.

2 / 20

Michael Jackson, “Bad” (1988)

Only one nomination for “Bad,” in a year where Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” got two? That’s just…wrong.

3 / 20

George Michael, “Freedom! ’90” (1991)

The 1991 VMAs kind of ruled—Arsenio Hall and R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” ruled the night, and EMF performed “Unbelievable”! Sadly, “Freedom! ’90” got shut out, thanks in part to Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” winning a whole bunch of awards.

4 / 20

Beastie Boys, “Sabotage” (1994)

On the other hand, want to know why the 1994 VMAs kind of sucked? “Sabotage” lost in three different categories to Aerosmith’s “Cryin’.” Oh, and Björk’s “Human Behaviour” got shut out that year, too! Boooooo.

5 / 20

Nine Inch Nails, “Closer” (1994)

Trent Reznor: the Susan Lucci of the VMAs? Nine Inch Nails has gone 0-for-9 over the course of its career, and although “The Perfect Drug” had more nominations, Mark Romanek’s “Closer” video is the one still haunting our nightmares (in a good way).

6 / 20

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, “Tha Crossroads” (1996)

Painful to think that the perfectly melodramatic video for “Tha Crossroads” went home empty-handed in 1996, losing out Video of the Year to the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” despite the Smashing Pumpkins not missing their Uncle Charles, y’all.

7 / 20

Missy Elliott, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997)

Pretty crazy to reflect on the fact that, nearly 20 years ago, the trashbag-tastic video to “The Rain” lost Breakthrough Video to Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity.” Guess Misdemeanor got the last laugh on that one, huh?

8 / 20

The Verve, “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1998)

The Verve’s sole Video of the Year nomination was bittersweet indeed, as the iconic rock clip lost in all three of its categories in 1998.

9 / 20

Busta Rhymes, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” (1998)

Is Busta Rhymes the most criminally overlooked artist in Video Music Awards history? Sure, he has won a Moonman (a single win in 2006 for the “Touch It” remix), but he’s also lost 15 times, for mind-bogglingly creative clips like “Woo-Hah! Got You All in Check,” “What’s It Gonna Be?!” and “Gimme Some More.” The worst offense: “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” one of the most imaginative videos of all time, losing four times in 1998.

10 / 20

D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” (2000)

The ultra-sexy scouring of D’Angelo’s body in the “Untitled” clip was not enough to topple turn-of-the-century phenoms like Destiny’s Child and Eminem.

11 / 20

Missy Elliott, “Get Ur Freak On” (2001)

“Get Ur Freak On” lost six times on the night of Sept. 6, 2001, while Moby’s awful “South Side” video went 1-for-1. Sometimes, kids, justice doesn’t exist.

12 / 20

The Strokes, “Last Nite” (2002)

Ahh, the “garage-rock revival” VMAs year. The White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With a Girl” won a few Moonman, but where’s the love for the Strokes’ lovably grainy grand debut?

13 / 20

Britney Spears, “Toxic” (2004)

Britney famously didn’t win a VMA until 2008, nearly a decade into her career, but of the many nominations she received and zero wins she scored, the 0-for-4 showing of “Toxic” in 2004 especially stings.

14 / 20

Mariah Carey, “We Belong Together" (2005)

Six times over the course of her career has Mariah Carey been nominated for a VMA, and six times she has come up empty. The worst offense? “We Belong Together” losing Best R&B Video to Alicia Keys’ “Karma” in ’05.

15 / 20

My Chemical Romance, “Helena” (2005)

There’s simply no reason for a video as inventive and memorable as My Chem’s “Helena” to post an 0-for-5 night at the 2005 VMAs, where Green Day’s clunky “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” clip reigned supreme.

16 / 20

OK Go, “Here It Goes Again” (2006)

Rather amazingly, “Here It Goes Again” did not notch a single nomination when it came out; maybe the VMAs voters weren’t that into physical fitness?

17 / 20

Kesha, “TiK ToK” (2010)

Granted, Kesha’s charming introduction lost twice to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” during the 2010 ceremony, but surely her “TiK ToK” clip should have beaten Justin Bieber’s “Baby” in the best new artist category? “Baby’s” video is not that good!

18 / 20

Jay Z and Kanye West, “Otis” (2012)

“Otis” stands as one of the most aptly exuberant videos of this decade, and it went 0-for-1 at the 2012 ceremony. It’s not a complicated video, but sometimes it’s the simple pleasures, you know?

19 / 20

Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop” (2013)

You probably remember the 2013 VMAs for the Robin Thicke-Miley Cyrus twerk-a-thon, right? We remember it because the colorful “We Can’t Stop” clip lost best female video to the less deserving “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift. Where’s Kanye West when you need him?

20 / 20

FKA Twigs, “Two Weeks” (2015)

Twigs is one of music’s most game-changing visual artists…and she got shut out in her first year of VMA competition. The “Two Weeks” video deserved more than to be shut out in two technical categories.

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