Ken Tucker
September 05, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Eminem’s going to win big at the MTV awards

On one level, who cares? Thursday night’s ”MTV Video Music Awards” is not so much an acknowledgment of excellence in music video making as it is a party, an industry get together featuring live performances and acceptance speeches in which anything goes. That’s what makes MTV’s shindig so much more fun than the Grammys or, heaven forbid, the American Music Awards. On the other hand, who doesn’t like predicting winners in any competition?

Based on exhaustive viewing of ”Total Request Live” over the past year (oh, sometimes my job is SO difficult) and input from my daughter, the 15 year old music video expert who watches MTV with the scrutiny A.J. Weberman used to apply to Bob Dylan’s rubbish, here are a few key-category predictions. Print it out and see if I’m right.

Best Video of the Year Eminem may dominate the culture of pop this year, but ‘N Sync has it all over him when it comes to popular culture. ”Bye, Bye, Bye,” with its ”boy band as marionettes” motif — a profound commentary about the freedom of the artist worthy of… um, the Archies — is a shoo-in.

Best Male Video I wish D’Angelo’s ”Untitled (How Does It Feel)” would win, because the song is great and D’Angelo is the funk/rock/ soulman of the new millennium. But what do I THINK will win? Eminem’s ”The Real Slim Shady.” Worst video in this category: Ricky Martin’s ”Shake Your Bon Bon.” Shake your cranium, Ricky, and come up with some new booty shaking variations.

Best Female Video Hmmm, close one. Either Britney Spears’ ”Ooops!… I Did It Again” or Christina Aguilera’s ”What a Girl Wants,” with, I’m guessing, Christina having the edge on what I perceive as a Britney backlash in the making. Of course, we all know that a third song in this category, Macy Gray’s ”I Try,” is the best piece of music, but image is what counts for MTV’s audience, and Macy is too weird/ old school/ just plain old.

Best Group Video Sure, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ”Californication” vid, with its cool animation, deserves it, but ‘N Sync’s ”Bye, Bye, Bye,” with its profound marionette… aw, you know it’s gonna win.

Best Rap Video My daughter wants Jay-Z’s ”Big Pimpin’,” (yes, I worry about her), I want DMX’s ”Party Up,” but we both know that whiny white kid is going to get it for ”The Real Slim Shady.”

OK, I’ve put myself on the line, and if you doubt my prowess — well, I don’t want to brag, but I WAS the only TV critic I know who correctly predicted in this space that Richard Hatch would win ”Survivor.” In fact, too bad Rich isn’t up for a ”Best Long Form Video” award.

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