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Video awards could be heated contest


It will be a battle between the good, the bad and the funky at this year's MTV Video Music Awards.

Among those acts slugging it out for Video of the Year honors are rap bad boy Eminem and boy-band good guys 'N Sync, both of whom netted six nominations each. (It could be an unusually heated contest, as Eminem mocks 'N Sync and other teen bands in his "The Real Slim Shady" video. 'N Sync makes no mention of the Eminem in "Bye Bye Bye").

Funk rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers are also up for Video of the Year for "Californication," while "All the Small Things" by pop-punks Blink-182 and "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" by R&B; crooner D'Angelo round out the slate. In all, the Chili Peppers are up for five awards, as are Christina Aguilera, heavy rockers Metallica, and Baltimore's Sisqo.

Winners will be announced in a live telecast from Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 7th. Marlon and Shawn Wayans, the writers/stars behind the hit film "Scary Movie," will be the show's MCs, replacing last year's host, Chris Rock.

In a grouping that almost defies categorization, D'Angelo, Eminem, rock/rapper Kid Rock, techno star Moby and Latin heartthrob Ricky Martin are vying for Best Male Video. Meanwhile, on the distaff side, Best Female Video shapes up as a battle between teen queens and R&B; stars, as Aguilera and Britney Spears square off against Aaliyah, Macy Gray and Severn native Toni Braxton.

Apart from the Viewer's Choice category, which features nominees Aguilera, Eminem, 'N Sync, Sisqo and Spears, the awards are voted on by a group of journalists and industry experts.

Even so, the nominees ought to be very familiar to fans of the channel's call-in show, "Total Request Live." In addition to the Eminem and 'N Sync videos, nominated clips by Aaliyah (for "Try Again"), Braxton ("He Wasn't Man Enough"), Jay-Z ("Big Pimpin' "), Metallica ("I Disappear") and Limp Bizkit ("Break Stuff") are in current rotation on "TRL."

Still, there are surprises on the ballot. Aimee Mann, whose moody, brainy score for the film "Magnolia" seems worlds away from hip-hop and teen pop, picked up two nominations, including one for Best Video from a Movie, which pits her against Aaliyah, Metallica, R.E.M. and Sisqo.

Brit rockers Blur may have sunk without trace from the charts, but the group's "Coffee and TV" video didn't, as it's competing against BjM-vrk's "All Is Full of Love," the Chemical Brothers' "Let Forever Be," Nine Inch Nails' "Into the Void," and Supergrass' "Pumping Your Stereo" for the Breakthrough Video award.

Perhaps the most astonishing nomination is in the Best Hip-Hop Video category, where rap/rockers Limp Bizkit are competing against Lauryn Hill, Juvenile, Q-Tip and Sisqo. Granted, the track in question, "N 2 Gether Now," is far less rock than most Limp Bizkit fare, and features a performance by rapper Method Man.

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