1998 MTV Video Awards

Though there is plenty of diversity within the categories, many of the same artists appear repeatedly throughout the list of nominees. Sure, you can fault the Grammys for honoring commercial success over talent, but they do serve up a long list of performers in each genre. A closer look at the MTV nominees list reveals that established artists rule the roost, providing further evidence that 1998 has not been not a breakout year for new musicians by any means. In fact, soundtracks have been topping the charts for months. Indeed, there have been a spattering of hits, Matchbox 20's 3 A.M., Imbruglia's Torn, The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony, Chumbawamba's Tubthumping; but none of these bands have dominated the charts or the airwaves as, for instance, Beck or Jewel did in recent years.

Madonna and Fiona Apple
The veteran and the upstart: nominees Madonna and Fiona Apple share a moment in the spotlight.
Madonna and Garbage lead the pack with eight nominations each. Madonna's hyperkinetic Ray of Light is up for Video of the Year, Female Video, Dance Video and Breakthrough Video. Garbage's brash, techno-laced Push It earned nods in the Group Video, Alternative Video, and Breakthrough Video categories. Will Smith's catchy Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It landed five nominations, including Video of the Year, Rap Video and Dance Video. His treacly Just the Two of Us is vying for the Male Video trophy. We are happy to report that the Spice Girls were not nominated in any category, and Celine Dion's maudlin, heart-pounding My Heart Will Go On appears only in the Viewers' Choice category.

Ben Stiller, red-hot from his painfully hilarious turn in There's Something About Mary and his role as a savage yuppie in Your Friends and Neighbors, will host the irreverent, fast-paced and often-bleeped ceremony, which kicks off at 8 p.m. on September 10. Set to perform are Madonna, Hole, The Beastie Boys, Marilyn Manson, Master P, Dave Matthews Band, and Brandy & Monica. Moonman statue presenters include Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Spade, Tyra Banks, Val Kilmer, and Jackie Chan.

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The Nominees