By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rapper Kendrick Lamar earned a leading eight MTV Video Music Award (VMA) nominations on Tuesday for his searing critique on the excesses of fame and social media in his “Humble” music video, while Katy Perry and The Weeknd scored five nods each.
Lamar’s “Humble” video, in which the rapper is seen lying on piles of cash, recreating Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting “The Last Supper” and with his hair on fire, will contend for video of the year, the top prize at the fan-voted, youth-orientated awards show.
Also nominated in the category is The Weeknd’s “Reminder,” Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” and DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller.
Perry’s big budget video for “Chained to the Rhythm,” which saw her in a retro-futuristic theme park called Oblivia, landed four nods including best pop and visual effects and she also landed a nomination for best collaboration as a featured artist on Calvin Harris’ summer track “Feels.”
However, the pop singer was snubbed in the video and artist of the year categories, while The Weeknd made the shortlist for both.
The MTV Video Music Awards, which will air live from Inglewood, California on Aug. 27, has a reputation for irreverence, shock tactics and unpredictable moments.
Perry is nominated in the best collaboration category alongside her pop rival Taylor Swift, nominated for her duet with former One Direction member Zayn Malik in the video for “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.”
Swift was part of one of MTV’s most infamous VMA moments when in 2009, she was interrupted on stage during her acceptance speech by rapper Kanye West, who snatched the microphone out of her hand and declared that Beyonce should have won the category.
MTV moved away from gender-specific categories at its Movie Awards earlier this year and continued to do so for the Video Music Awards, swapping the former best female video and best male video categories for one category – artist of the year.
Lamar, The Weeknd and Bruno Mars will contend with Ariana Grande, Lorde and Ed Sheeran for the coveted award.
Notably absent this year are music’s power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z, who did not release any new music in the eligibility period of June 25, 2016 to June 23, 2017.
Jay-Z’s latest album “4:44,” which gained praise for sharp social commentary including in the music video for “The Story of O.J.,” missed the deadline with its June 30 release.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Michael Perry)