VMA winners 2021: Complete list with nominees

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The MTV VMAs are always full of twerking, barely-there outfits and lots of dancing — and, after a lackluster awards season dampened by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there has never been a better time for those antics.

On Sunday night, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was full of the hottest names in music who kept the world entertained and full of hope during such a dark time.

The big winner of the night: Video of the Year victor Lil Nas X, who saluted “the gay agenda” in his acceptance for “MONTERO (Call Me By your Name).”

“Let’s go, gay agenda!” shouted the 22-year-old singer, who recently reveled in a new mystery boyfriend. “I love you guys so much. I will not take this for granted.”

The ceremony, hosted by sky-high performer Doja Cat, led its musical lineup with a hoodie-wearing Justin Bieber, who quickly won for Best Pop recording and scored the most nominations this year with seven nods. The 27-year-old, in his first VMA performance since 2015, offered up his chart-topper “Stay” (a duet with rapper Kid Laroi) and “Ghost” from his sixth album, “Justice.”

Bieber also landed the Artist of the Year award and alluded to the hardships of COVID-19 in his acceptance speech.

“Music is such an amazing opportunity and outlet to be able to reach people and to bring us all together. And that’s why we’re all here, right?” he told the receptive audience. “We are all here together. You know, we’ve got more in common than we don’t. And I look around here and see so many beautiful faces. And, you know, I believe the best is yet to come.”

Madonna opened the 2021 VMAs with a salute to MTV.
Madonna opened the 2021 VMAs with a salute to MTV.

In a surprise appearance, leather-wearing, flesh-baring, age-defying Material Girl Madonna kicked off the show with a salute to MTV’s origins — as well as hers — saying the network “changed my life, changed music and created a whole new art form.”

Madame X, 63, is no stranger to MTV and the VMAs stage, of course. She gave viewers a sultry rendition of her hit “Like a Virgin” at the first awards show in 1984. And who could forget her 2003 liplock with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, which still stands out as one of the wildest moments in the show’s history?

“We’re still here, motherf–kers!” Madonna told the screaming audience. “Happy 40th, MTV!”

Olivia Rodrigo, won the Push Performance of the Year award, hits the stage at the 2021 MTV VMAs.
Best New Artist winner Olivia Rodrigo performs at the 2021 MTV VMAs.

The 2021 show was jam-packed with performances from the likes of Busta Rhymes, Alicia Keys, Camila Cabello, Chlöe of Chloe x Halle, Jack Harlow, Kacey Musgraves, The Kid LAROI, Kim Petras, Lil Nas X, Machine Gun Kelly, Normani, Ozuna, Polo G, Shawn Mendes, Swae Lee, Swedish House Mafia, Tainy and Twenty One Pilots.

Lil Nas X offers a sexy, shirtless mashup of "Industry Baby" and "Call Me By Your Name" during his performance at the 2021 MTV VMAs at Barclays Center.
Lil Nas X offers a sexy, shirtless mashup of “Industry Baby” and “Call Me By Your Name” during his performance at the 2021 MTV VMAs at Barclays Center.

A big snub of the night went to rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, the dynamic duo behind the spicy single “WAP” who were nominated for plenty of Moonperson awards, including Video of the Year, but came up empty.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Foo Fighters also received the Global Icon Award during the ceremony.

Here is the final list of winners from the live broadcast.

Video of the Year

WINNER: Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “POPSTAR” (Starring Justin Bieber)

Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More”

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits”

The Weeknd – “Save Your Tears”

Best Rock

WINNER: John Mayer – “Last Train Home”

Evanescence – “Use My Voice”

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame”

The Killers – “My Own Soul’s Warning”

Kings Of Leon – “The Bandit”

Lenny Kravitz – “Raise Vibration”

Best R&B

WINNER: Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”

Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “BROWN SKIN GIRL”

Chris Brown and Young Thug – “Go Crazy”

Giveon – “HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY”

H.E.R. ft. Chris Brown – “Come Through”

SZA – “Good Days”

Best Choreography

WINNER: Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Choreography by: Paul Roberts

Ariana Grande – “34+35” – Choreography by: Brian Nicholson & Scott Nicholson

BTS – “Butter” –Choreography by: SON SUNG DEUK With BHM PERFORMANCE DIRECTING TEAM

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Choreography by: Natricia Bernard

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Choreography by: Nina McNeely

Marshmello & Halsey – “Be Kind” – Choreography by: Dani Vitale

Best New Artist

Olivia Rodrigo accepts the Best New Artist Award at the 2021 VMAs. “I just feel so grateful that I get to write music and make stuff that I love and call it my job,” said the startled winner, who called the honor “so crazy.”
Olivia Rodrigo accepts the Best New Artist Award at the 2021 VMAs. “I just feel so grateful that I get to write music and make stuff that I love and call it my job,” said the startled winner, who called the honor “so crazy.”

WINNER: Olivia Rodrigo – Geffen Records

24kGoldn – RECORDS LLC / Columbia Records

Giveon – Epic Records / Not So Fast

The Kid LAROI – Columbia Records

Polo G – Columbia Records

Saweetie – Warner Records

Best Direction

WINNER: Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Directed by: Lil Nas X and Tanu Muino

Billie Eilish – “Your Power” – Directed by: Billie Eilish

DJ Khaled ft. Drake – “POPSTAR (Starring Justin Bieber)” – Directed by: Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X

Taylor Swift – “willow” – Directed by: Taylor Swift

Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A – “Franchise” – Directed by: Travis Scott

Tyler, The Creator – “LUMBERJACK” – Directed by: Wolf Haley

Best Cinematography

WINNER: Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid – “BROWN SKIN GIRL” – Cinematography by: Benoit Soler, Malik H. Sayeed, MOHAMMAED ATTA AHMED, Santiago Gonzalez, Ryan Helfant

Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am” – Cinematography by: Rob Witt

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Cinematography by: Santiago Gonzalez

Justin Bieber ft. Chance The Rapper – “Holy” – Cinematography by: Elias Talbot

Lady Gaga – “911” – Cinematography by: Jeff Cronenweth

Lorde – “Solar Power” – Cinematography by: Andrew Stroud

Best Art Direction

WINNER: Saweetie ft. Doja Cat – “Best Friend” – Art Direction by: Art Haynes

Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Art Direction by: John Richoux

Beyoncé, Shatta Wale, Major Lazer – “ALREADY” – Art Direction by: Susan Linns, Gerard Santos

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Art Direction by: Alison Dominitz

Lady Gaga – “911” – Art Direction by: Tom Foden, Peter Andrus

Taylor Swift – “willow” – Art Direction by: Ethan Tobman, Regina Fernandez

Best Alternative

WINNER: Machine Gun Kelly ft. blackbear – “my ex’s best friend”

Bleachers – “Stop Making This Hurt”

Glass Animals – “Heat Waves”

Imagine Dragons – “Follow You”artist

twenty one pilots – “Shy Away” – Fueled By Ramen

WILLOW ft. Travis Barker – “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l”

Best K-Pop

WINNER: BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC Monsta X – “Gambler”

(G)I-DLE – “DUMDi DUMDi”

BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez – “Ice Cream”

SEVENTEEN – “Ready to love”

TWICE – “Alcohol-Free”

Best Collaboration

Host and Best Collaboration winner Doja Cat makes a quirky fashion statement at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.
Host and Best Collaboration winner Doja Cat makes a quirky fashion statement at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.

WINNER: Doja Cat ft. SZA – “Kiss Me More”

24kGoldn ft. iann dior – “Mood”

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches”

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner”

Best Hip-Hop

WINNER: Travis Scott ft. Young Thug & M.I.A. – “FRANCHISE”

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

Drake ft. Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”

Lil Baby ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “On Me (remix)”

Moneybagg Yo – “Said Sum”

Polo G – “RAPSTAR”

Artist of the Year

WINNER: Justin Bieber

Ariana Grandehop

Doja Cat

Megan Thee Stallion

Olivia Rodrigo

Taylor Swift

Video for Good

WINNER: Billie Eilish – “Your Power”

Demi Lovato – “Dancing With The Devil”

H.E.R. – “Fight For You”

Kane Brown – “Worldwide Beautiful”

Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”

Pharrell Williams ft. JAY-Z – “Entrepreneur”

Best Pop

Justin Bieber celebrates his Best Pop win for "Peaches" alongside Giveon at the 2021 VMAs.
Justin Bieber celebrates his Best Pop win for “Peaches” alongside Giveon at the 2021 VMAs.

WINNER: Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches”

Ariana Grande – “positions”

Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”

BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT MUSIC

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness”

Olivia Rodrigo – “good 4 u”

Shawn Mendes – “Wonder”

Taylor Swift – “willow”

Song of the Year

WINNER: Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license”

24kGoldn ft. iann dior – “Mood”

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”

BTS – “Dynamite”

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”

Dua Lipa – “Levitating”

Group of the Year

WINNER: BTS

Blackpink

CNCO

Foo Fighters

Jonas Brothers

Maroon 5

Silk Sonic

Twenty One Pilots

Push Performance of the Year

Olivia Rodrigo won the first award of the night at the 2021 MTV VMAs.
Olivia Rodrigo won the first award of the night at the 2021 MTV VMAs.
FilmMagic

WINNER: May 2021: Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license”

September 2020: Wallows – “Are You Bored Yet?”

October 2020: Ashnikko – “Daisy”

November 2020: SAINt JHN – “Gorgeous”

December 2020: 24kGoldn – “Coco”

January 2021: JC Stewart – “Break My Heart”

February 2021: Latto – “Sex Lies” – RCA Records

March 2021: Madison Beer – “Selfish”

April 2021: The Kid LAROI – “WITHOUT YOU”

June 2021: girl in red “Serotonin”

July 2021: Fousheé – “my slime”

August 2021: jxdn – “Think About Me”

Best Latin

WINNER: Billie Eilish & ROSALÍA – “Lo Vas A Olvidar”

Bad Bunny x Jhay Cortez – “Dákiti”

Black Eyed Peas and Shakira – “GIRL LIKE ME”

J. Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Tainy – “UN DIA (ONE DAY)”

Karol G – “Bichota”

Maluma – “Hawái”

Best Visual Effects

WINNER: Lil Nas X – “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” – Visual Effects by: Mathematic

Bella Poarch – “Build A Bitch” – Visual Effects by: Andrew Donoho, Denhov Visuals, Denis Strahhov, Rein Jakobson, Vahur Kuusk, Tatjana Pavlik, Yekaterina Vetrova

Coldplay – “Higher Power” – Visual Effects by: Mathematic

Doja Cat & The Weeknd – “You Right” – Visual Effects by: La Pac, Anthony Lestremau, Julien Missaire, Petr Shkolniy, Alexi Bailla, Micha Sher, Antoine Hache, Mikros MPC, Nicolas Huget, Guillaume Ho Tsong Fang, Benjamin Lenfant, Stephane Pivron, MPC Bangalore, Chanakya Chander, Raju Ganesh, David Rouxel

Glass Animals – “Tangerine” – Visual Effects by: Ronan Fourreau

P!NK – “All I Know So Far” – Visual Effects by: Dave Meyers, Freenjoy Inc

Best Editing

WINNER: Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Editing by: Troy Charbonnet

BTS – “Butter” – Editing by: Yong Seok Choi from Lumpens

Drake – “What’s Next” – Editing by: Noah Kendal

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Editing by: Claudia Wass

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Editing by: Mark Mayr, Vinnie Hobbs

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – “Prisoner”


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