Some of these artists, no doubt, have been offered the award. In those cases, MTV is waiting for them to finally say yes.
With MTV’s announcement that Missy Elliott will receive this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award, we can tick one more name off the list of worthy contenders who are in line to receive that award. Even so, there are still plenty of deserving honorees waiting to get the call from MTV. (Some of these artists, no doubt, have gotten the call, repeatedly. In those cases, MTV is waiting for them to finally say yes.)
Here are 17 artists who have yet to receive the VMAs’ video vanguard award (but probably will someday):
Eminem: The rapper is tied with Beyoncé (the 2014 vanguard recipient) as the artist with the most total noms for video of the year (seven). He has won twice, for “The Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me.”
Will Smith: Here’s a case where you can be fairly certain that the reason he hasn’t gotten the award yet is that he has yet to say yes. The rapper-turned-megastar has received two video of the year noms; he has yet to win in that category.
Lady Gaga: The newly-minted Oscar winner has received three video of the year noms. She won for “Bad Romance.”
Katy Perry: Perry has received two video of the year noms. She won for “Firework.”
Taylor Swift: Swift has received three video of the year noms. She won for “Bad Blood” (featuring Kendrick Lamar). Swift presented the video vanguard award to Kanye West when he got it in 2015. Will he present it to her when her turn inevitably arrives? Will this be MTV’s longest-running soap opera? Place your bets.
Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters: This award tends to go to solo artists. The last band to win was Duran Duran in 2003. Here it could be presented to either Grohl or his band, Foo Fighters. Grohl has been nominated for video of the year three times — twice with Nirvana and once with the Foos. He has yet to win in that category.
Green Day: The band has received two video of the year noms. They won for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
Bruno Mars: The versatile performer has received five video of the year noms. He has yet to win. (Yes, that’s the most noms without a win.)
Drake: The hip-hopper has received three video of the year noms. He has yet to win.
Christina Aguilera: She has received two video of the year noms. She won for “Lady Marmalade,” her collabo with Lil’ Kim, Mýa and P!nk (featuring Elliott). P!nk was the 2017 vanguard recipient. As noted, Elliott will receive it this year. Could three participants on the same smash go on to Vanguard honors?
Pharrell Williams: The one-time Oscar nominee has received three video of the year noms. He has yet to win in that category.
Panic! at the Disco: Panic! won on its one and only video of the year nom, for “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.”
Miley Cyrus: Cyrus won on her one and only video of the year nom, for “Wrecking Ball.”
Kendrick Lamar: The rapper has won twice for video of the year, as a featured artist on Swift’s “Bad Blood” and on his own with “Humble.” He has had three noms in that category in all. Lamar has plenty of years ahead of him to win the honor, but MTV hasn’t always waited a long time to present this award. Madonna got it in 1986, just three years after her debut album was released. Guns N’ Roses got it in 1992, five years after their debut was released. George Michael got it six years after he debuted with Wham! in 1983.
Aerosmith: The veteran band received three video of the year noms. They won for “Cryin’.” As noted, bands seem to be at a disadvantage in this category. Solo personalities just seem to make for better TV. Other bands of a certain age that have yet to receive this award include Van Halen, Pearl Jam and the Smashing Pumpkins — and, on the R&B/hip-hop side, TLC.