Lady Gaga, 30 Seconds To Mars And Others Go To Bat For Their Directors: Better Know A VMA Category

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards are fast approaching, which means that in only a few weeks you’ll be treated to an excellent night of performances and appearances by the likes of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, B.o.B and Deadmau5 (who will serve as the house DJ at the show). While people tend to remember the classic performances and the unhinged moments, the coveted Moonman is the reason why people show up and tune in. This year, there are 16 categories wherein some of the biggest music stars in the universe will compete for the coolest trophy in awards shows. Today, we take a look at the nominees in the Best Direction category.

Music videos have often been a proving ground for film directors, who then go on to direct features and win awards hand over fist. Though the artists in the clips are at the forefront of the category, the Moonman has provided a boost for a handful of accomplished directors. Past winners of the prize for Best Direction at the MTV Video Music Awards include David Fincher (who won two years in a row for Madonna‘s “Express Yourself” in 1989 and “Vogue” in 1990; he later made modern classics like “Se7en,” “Fight Club” and “The Curious Case for Benjamin Button”), Tarsem Singh (scored a Moonman for R.E.M.‘s “Losing My Religion” in 1991 and later directed “The Cell” and “The Fall”), Spike Jonze (scored for Weezer‘s “Buddy Holly” in 1994 and later created “Being John Malkovich” and “Where the Wild Things Are”), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (won two Moonmen for direction for Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Tonight Tonight” in 1996 and Red Hot Chili Peppers“Californication” in 2000) and “Nightmare on Elm Street” director Samuel Bayer (who won for Green Day‘s “Boulevard of Broken Dream” in 2005 and Justin Timberlake‘s “What Goes Around … Comes Around” in 2007).

This year’s crop of nominated directors is an excellent mix of newcomers and veterans. In the latter category, you’ve got Hype Williams (nominated for Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”), Francis Lawrence (Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance”) and Dave Meyers (Pink’s “Funhouse”). The (relative) newcomers include Bartholomew Cubbins (the pseudonym used by Jared Leto, who directed his band 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Kings and Queens”) and Rich Lee (who directed Eminem‘s “Not Afraid” and who has less than 10 years in the game.

The criteria for great direction is sort of vague, but for sheer accomplishments, the MTV Newsroom Blog thinks Leto might have the upper hand. “Kings and Queens” is gorgeous and epic, and was clearly logistically complicated. But all of the videos nominated are deserving.

The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 12 at 9 p.m. ET.