Lady Gaga’s fans were shocked when the female superstar was snubbed by this year’s Video Music Awards nominations, not receiving a single one. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to watch Gaga’s award-winning videos, and see how her two eligible videos from this year stacked up against them.
1. Poker Face—Best New Artist (2009)
From the very first shot of Lady Gaga climbing out of a pool wearing a mask made of mirror shards, we get a sense of the pop icon and trailblazer she will soon become. While her black leather outfit and stiletto boots are typical pop-star sexy, her long white wig is just extraterrestrial enough to set her apart from the crowds. The catchiest synth beats possible make up for the standard music video shots of strip poker and a mansion with a swimming pool, while Gaga adds her own twists to the traditions of the pop genre.
2. Paparazzi—Best Art Direction, Best Special Effects (2009)
This video establishes the begininig of the music video as short film trend that became one of Gaga’s trademarks, with over two and a half minutes of shots that establish the plots, characters, and themes of the video. While “Poker Face” had typical dancing, she replaces that with crazy, creative moves: Gaga dances while supporting herself on leg braces, in keeping with the plot of the film, while wearing a metal bustier. She doesn’t shy away from incorporating death imagery, with shots of beautiful women lying by a pool, in the grass, etc. When she calmly poisons her boyfriend and tabloids scream out, “We Love Her Again!” you know exactly what message she’s sending about the nature of fame.
3. Bad Romance—Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, Best Editing (2010)
This is truly Lady Gaga’s magnum opus, one of the most watched videos of all time on YouTube and perhaps her most iconic. Nearly every shot sticks in the memory of viewers: from Gaga and her fellow white-bodysuit-and-mask-clad dancers climbing out of white coffin-like pods to Gaga in a bathtub with monstrously huge eyes, from Gaga dressed in jewels and dancing for the highest bidder to the impossibly high-heeled Alexander McQueen shoes she wears. Perhaps most important is the positively iconic monster dance that became the biggest thing since “Thriller,” and proved that Lady Gaga really was the queen of pop. When Lady Gaga sets the room on fire with her exploding bra at the video’s climax, you can clearly see where Katy Perry gets her ideas.
4. Telephone—Best Collaboration Video (2010)
This 9 minute 32 second short film shows two of pop’s biggest stars appearing together, and Lady Gaga’s cigarette-covered sunglasses and use of coke bottles as hair rollers are some of the most memorable costume choices she’s ever made.
5. Born This Way- Best Female Video, Best Video with a Message (2011)
Maybe this was the beginning of the end for Lady Gaga. From the first moments of the video, she’s trying even harder to top herself and to reach new levels of crazy that will inspire people to continue talking about her. The graphic image of Lady Gaga giving birth to an entire species might not have been necessary, but the song still became an anthem, particularly for the LGBT community.
You and I (snubbed 2012)
This really excellent video plays between the inhuman images Gaga loves to use and the simple, classic, country tropes (with a gender-bender twist, of course). It introduced Lady Gaga’s alter ego of Jo Calderone, who caused the biggest stir of last year’s VMA’s by making an appearance. This video came out in August 2011, so maybe it’s just too old to win gold.
Marry the Night (snubbed 2012)
This is Gaga’s longest video to date: 13 minutes and 51 seconds. It begins with a meditation on the nature of truth, memory, and trauma, with Gaga as a patient in a mental hospital. This voiceover monologue continues, it’s not until after almost five minutes that the plot switches to Gaga as a ballerina, and then French actress sleeping on the floor, and then dyeing her hair in the bathtub…and it never settles on one coherent plot. The video takes almost a full 9 minutes to get to the music, and once she’s singing and dancing in a parking lot full of exploding cars, it gets amazing. It took too long to get there, though, and choked on its own artistry.