Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj & More Record-Setters at 2023 MTV VMAs
Taylor Swift won nine awards at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, which were held at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Tuesday (Sept. 12). That’s just one award off the single-night record. Peter Gabriel won 10 awards in 1987.
This brings Swift’s career VMAs tally to 23, second only to Beyoncé on the all-time VMAs leaderboard. Beyoncé has won 30 VMAs, counting two with Destiny’s Child and two as half of The Carters.
Swift’s “Anti-Hero,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks, a new personal-best for the superstar, won video of the year. This was her fourth win in the category, extending her record for the most wins in the category. She previously won for “Bad Blood” (with Kendrick Lamar, 2015), “You Need to Calm Down” (2019) and “All Too Well: The Short Film” (2022).
In addition to extending her record for most wins – no one else has won more than two – Swift is the first artist in VMA history to win back-to-back awards in this category.
Swift also extended her record as the artist with the most video of the year wins for videos that she directed or co-directed. She co-directed “You Need to Calm Down” with Drew Kirsch and was the sole director of both “All Too Well: The Short Film” and “Anti-Hero.”
Swift also won in a separate category – best direction – for “Anti-Hero.” It’s her third win in that category in the past four years, following wins for “The Man” (2019) and “All Too Well: The Short Film” (2022). Swift is the third director to win three times in this category, following David Fincher and Spike Jonze. Swift and Fincher are the only directors to win back-to-back awards in this category. Fincher’s back-to-back awards were for directing Madonna’s “Express Yourself” (1989) and “Vogue” (1990).
Swift won song of the year for “Anti-Hero.” None of the previous five winners in this category have gone on to win the Grammy in that category, but “Anti-Hero” (which Swift co-wrote with Jack Antonoff) has a very good chance of doing just that. Swift has yet to win in that Grammy category, and a lot of people think it’s about time.
And Swift won best pop for the second time for “Anti-Hero,” having won eight years ago for “Blank Space.” Only Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake have won more times (three) in the category. (Timberlake’s tally includes two awards with NSYNC.) NSYNC presented the award to Swift.
Swift’s other wins on the night were artist of the year, album of the year (for Midnights), show of the summer, best cinematography and best visual effects. (Swift didn’t personally work in the latter two capacities on her “Anti-Hero” video, but the VMAs give all artists credit for technical awards their videos win.)
Swift wasn’t the only artist who set records at the 2023 VMAs. Take a look:
Nicki Minaj won a record fifth award for best hip-hop for “Super Freaky Girl.” She previously won for “Super Bass” (2011), “Anaconda” (2015), “Chun-Li” (2018) and “Do We Have a Problem” (featuring Lil Baby, 2022). Minaj, who also emceed this year’s show, is pulling away from Drake, who is in second place with three wins in the category.
Ice Spice won best new artist. (She, of course, also has a Swift connection, having been featured on a remix of Swift’s “Karma,” a No. 2 Hot 100 hit.) This is the sixth consecutive year that a female artist has won in this category. Ice Spice follows Cardi B (2018), Billie Eilish (2019), Doja Cat (2019), Olivia Rodrigo (2021) and Dove Cameron (2022). Of those artists, all but Cardi and Cameron went on to land Grammy nominations for best new artist. Ice Spice is expected to follow suit.
Shakira won two awards – the Video Vanguard Award and best collaboration for “TQG,” on which she teamed with Karol G. This is the second year in a row that the Video Vanguard recipient has also won in a competitive category that same year. Last year, Nicki Minaj won best hip-hop for “Do We Have a Problem” (featuring Lil Baby).
This is the third time in the past four years that a pairing of two women has won in the collaboration category. “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande won in 2020. “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat featuring SZA won in 2021. In addition, two previous category winners were pairings of two women – “Beautiful Liar” by Beyoncé and Shakira won in 2007, followed by “Telephone” by Lady Gaga featuring Beyoncé in 2010.
Blackpink also won two awards – group of the year and best choreography for “Pink Venom.”
“Seven” by Jungkook featuring Latto won song of summer. Jungkook won in the same category two years ago as a member of BTS for their smash “Butter.” Both songs reached No. 1 on the Hot 100.
“Calm Down” by Rema and Selena Gomez was the inaugural winner in the new best Afrobeats category. The versatile Gomez won best pop 10 years ago for “Come and Get It.”
Anitta won best Latin for the second year in a row. She won this year for “Funk Rave” and won last year for “Envolver.” Anitta is the second artist to win back-to-back awards in this category. J Balvin won three years running (2018-20).
Stray Kids won best K-pop for “S-Class.” They were nominated last year but lost to Lisa for “Lalisa.” Lisa was nominated this year as a member of Blackpink.
Tomorrow X Together won Push performance of the year. It’s the second year in a row that a South Korean band has won in that category. Seventeen won last year.
Måneskin won best rock for “The Loneliest,” one year after winning best alternative for “I Wanna Be Your Slave.” Måneskin is just the second act, following Green Day, to win in both categories. The award for rock has been presented in every year but one since 1989. The award for best alternative originated in 1991, but went on hiatus from 1999 to 2019.
Dove Cameron, last year’s winner for best new artist, won video for good for “Breakfast.”
Lana Del Rey’s “Candy Necklace” (featuring Jon Batiste) won for best alternative, making her the first female solo artist to win in the category. Note: The category was on hiatus between 1999 and 2019.