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MTV VMAs 2015: Why most of the award winners aren't making headlines

Singer Taylor Swift picked up many major prizes at the 2015 MTV VMA Awards, but it was rapper Kanye West, who received a lifetime achievement award, and host Miley Cyrus who had viewers talking. 

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    Kanye West accepts the video vanguard award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
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Taylor Swift became the big winner at the MTV Video Music Awards, picking up such prizes as video of the year and best pop video.

At the ceremony, which was hosted by Miley Cyrus, Swift also picked up such awards as best female video (for her song “Blank Space,” which also won the best pop video prize), and best art direction for “Bad Blood,” the song which also netted her the video of the year award.

Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars picked up the best male video prize for “Uptown Funk,” while the band Fall Out Boy won the best rock video prize for the song “Uma Thurman.” Nicki Minaj won the best hip-hop video award for her song “Anaconda,” while the band 5 Seconds of Summer appropriately won the song of summer award for their track “She’s Kinda Hot.” 

Kendrick Lamar took the best direction award for his video “Alright," while Beyoncé won the best editing prize for her song “7/11” and Flying Lotus and Lamar took the best cinematography prize for the song “Never Catch Me.” Rapper Fetty Wap was named the artist to watch, while the best choreography prize for their song “I Won’t Let You Down” went to the band OK Go. Skrillex, Diplo, and Justin Bieber won the best visual effects prize for the song “Where Are U Now,” and Big Sean, Kanye West, and John Legend won the prize for best video with a social message for their song “One Man Can Change the World.” 

However, less attention was paid to the award winners than to those who would be performing at the ceremony – the performances by Bieber and Minaj, which featured Swift, drew particular praise from critics – and to drama between celebrities. The emphasis for the VMAs seems to be less on who will take big prizes than what will happen during the show. 

If one prize got attention, it was the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which went to rapper West. It was presented to him by Swift and during the long speech, West discussed the incident in which he took to the stage after Swift won an award in 2009, saying, “I think if I had to do it all again, what would I have done?... If I had a daughter at that time, would I have went on stage and grabbed the mic from someone else’s?” He also discussed his perception of awards shows in general, saying, “I still don’t understand award shows. I don’t understand how they get five people who work their entire life, one that sold records, sold concert tickets, to come stand on a carpet, and for the first time in their life be judged on a chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser.” In addition, he discussed the millennial generation, saying, “We the millennials, bro. This is a new mentality. We not going to control our kids with brands. We’re not going to teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We gonna teach our kids that they can be something. We’re going to teach our kids that they can stand up for themselves. We’re going to teach our kids to believe in themselves." 

And he ended his speech unexpectedly, saying, “As you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.” 

Meanwhile, Cyrus announced during the ceremony that she has a new album that is now streaming online at no charge. Other artists who have recently released albums unexpectedly include singer Beyoncé, whose self-titled work came out as a surprise in 2013, and rapper Drake, whose work “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” came out unexpectedly this past February.

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