2016 Grammy Nominations: Our Thoughts and Predictions


The 2016 Grammy nominations were announced this morning, and as always they were a bit of a mixed bag of obvious selections and oddball choices no one saw coming. It’s no secret that the Grammys aren’t often taken very seriously, and over the years, they haven’t done much to shake that opinion. Can you honestly say that Tony Bennett’s MTV Unplugged was the best album of 1994, or The Starland Vocal Band is the best new artist of 1976? This year doesn’t offer choices that bad (except in a few places and we’ll get to them), but they are worth some discussion. I’m going to cover most of the categories and give my thoughts on who should win, who will win and who the biggest snubs are. A reminder: the Grammy eligibility period covers October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, so Adele’s eligible for the next ceremony, not this one.


The Big Four

Album of the Year

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Taylor Swift, 1989
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

A quite good selection, although I wish D’Angelo or Miguel had The Weeknd’s spot. I suspected Alabama Shakes would be this year’s rock pick over Foo Fighters. Kendrick Lamar has this year’s most critically acclaimed album with To Pimp a Butterfly and would be a great choice for this award, but let’s be honest: this is Taylor’s award to lose. I have a feeling she’ll be netting this year’s big prize. For omissions, I would have loved to have seen my favorite album of the year, Carly Rae Jepsen’s poor selling but critically adored Emotion, be vindicated through a nomination here, but she didn’t even get a nomination in the pop categories. The cast recording to Hamilton would have been a great addition here, too.

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, 1989

Record of the Year

D’Angelo & The Vanguard, “Really Love”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”


It’s interesting that D’Angelo gets in here for an individual song instead of album of the year for Black Messiah, but otherwise there’s nothing else that surprised me. “Uptown Funk” is the favorite, but I suspect that Grammy voters will go for Ed Sheeran’s terminally boring “Thinking Out Loud” for this award. As for snubs, I’m surprised that Kanye West, Rihanna and Paul McCartney’s “FourFiveSeconds” – Grammy bait if I’ve ever heard it – didn’t get a nomination here or in any other category. Perhaps the Recording Academy finally realizes when they’re being pandered to.

PREDICTION: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

Song of the Year

Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (songwriters: Kendrick Lamar, Mark Anthony Spears and Pharrell Williams)
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space” (songwriters: Max Martin, Shellback and Taylor Swift)
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush” (songwriters: Hilary Lindsey, Lori McKenna and Liz Rose)
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (songwriters: Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks, Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa, songwriters)
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (songwriters: Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge)

This is the award for songwriting and I really hope that “See You Again,” the dull-as-wallpaper Furious 7 soundtrack hit, doesn’t win this. I suspect it won’t though, as there’s three other, better songs here as well as another strong contender that is at least interesting in its dullness (that’s “Thinking Out Loud” again, for the record). “Alright” is a great song and has quickly become a protest anthem, but this is another category where I’d love it if Kendrick won, but I don’t think he’s going to beat Taylor. I feel comfortable saying that Taylor will win songwriting and Sheeran will win recording, but it could go either way for both, or one song might take both categories. Either way, I think they’re the two songs to beat. As for surprise omissions, “FourFiveSeconds” again, but I also thought George Ezra’s “Budapest” might have had a chance here, as it’s the kind of acoustic pop-folk-rock that the Grammys seem to gravitate to for this category.


PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

Best New Artist

Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor

Best New Artist has something of a mixed history. There a just as many success stories (The Beatles, Mariah Carey, Adele) as there are total busts (The Swingle Sisters, Starland Vocal Band, Marc Cohn). soul-influenced folk rocker James Bay seems to be the musician that most jibes with the kind of act that is normally picked for this award, and he’s who I think will take it. Meghan Trainor, –who managed to turn a novelty hit into a string of middling-to-terrible follow-up hits – really has no business being nominated for this thing, and I was worried that she would. It’s wonderful to see that Courtney Barnett’s witty lyrics and terrific guitarwork has been recognized in this category, and she would be a great darkhorse to take the award if Bay doesn’t get it. There were quite a few artists that deserved to be here instead of Trainor: I thought George Ezra, Fetty Wap, Leon Bridges, Maddie & Tae and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats all had a fair shot for one of the slots, but that’s not what happened.

But in closing, I think this award will go to James Bay, but Courtney Barnett could always pull a much deserved surprise win here.



Up next: We take a look at the nominees in the pop and dance categories

Pop and Dance

Best Pop Solo Performance

Kelly Clarkson, “Heartbeat Song”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

Another category I would have loved to see Carly Rae Jepsen receive a nomination in (perhaps for “Run Away With Me” or “I Really Like You”). I think this will be another win for Taylor

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Florence + The Machine, “Ship to Wreck”
Maroon 5, “Sugar”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

While the Grammys could easily give this to “Bad Blood” and award the two most nominated artists of the night in one go, I don’t think that’s what will happen. “Bad Blood” isn’t nearly as good as “Blank Space,” and free of competition from both that and “Thinking Out Loud,” I believe this is the category where “Uptown Funk” will ultimately come up triumphant.

PREDICTION: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night
Josh Groban, Stages
Seth MacFarlane, No One Ever Tells You
Barry Manilow, My Dream Duets

I know nothing about traditional pop, but I sure hope Seth MacFarlane doesn’t win this thing.

PREDICTION: Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night

Best Pop Vocal Album

Kelly Clarkson, Piece by Piece
Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Mark Ronson, Uptown Special
Taylor Swift, 1989
James Taylor, Before This World

James Taylor is probably Taylor Swift’s biggest threat in this category, but I think even he probably doesn’t stand a chance

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, 1989

Best Dance Recording

Above and Beyond feat. Zoe Johnston, “We’re All We Need”
The Chemical Brothers, “Go”
Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Never Catch Me”
Galantis, “Runaway (U & I)”
Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now”

Justin Beiber had a great 2015, and converted many who had previously expressed open distaste for him. However, his most celebrated track, the #1 “What Do You Mean?”, was just a few weeks short of eligibility. So I think they might give this award to his solid collaboration with Jack U as makeup. I don’t think any other nominee aside from “Never Catch Me” really puts up a fight

PREDICTION: Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now”

Best Dance Electronic Album

Caribou, Our Love
The Chemical Brothers, Born in the Echoes
Disclosure, Caracal
Jamie xx, In Colour
Skrillex and Diplo, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U

This one’s hard to tell, but I think that Jamie xx’s critical acclaim might sway some voters who don’t know this genre too well. I think he’s the nominee to beat here

PREDICTION: Jamie xx, In Colour

Up next: We give our thoughts on the nominees for the rock, metal and alternative categories

Rock, Metal and Alternative

Best Rock Performance

Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Florence + The Machine, “What Kind of Man”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Elle King, “Ex’s and Oh’s”
Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”

This year’s nominees consist almost entirely of female or female fronted acts, with longtime stalwarts Foo Fighters being the only exception. I don’t think the Foos fill take this one, though, and instead will likely be picked up by Alabama Shakes’ scorching soulful blues rocker “Don’t Wanna Fight”

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”

Best Metal Performance

August Burns Red, “Identity”
Ghost, “Cirice”
Lamb of God, “512”
Sevendust, “Thank You”
Slipknot, “Custer”

I don’t know much about modern metal, but I feel that the mysterious Swedish act Ghost might take this one. Their offering “Cirice” is certainly the strongest of this field.

PREDICTION: Ghost, “Cirice”

Best Rock Song

Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Elle King, “Ex’s and Oh’s”
James Bay, “Hold Back the River”
Highly Suspect, “Lydia”
Florence + The Machine, “What Kind of Man”

Another songwriting award, and here’s where I think Florence + The Machine will triumph. Florence Welch and her band have always been a lyrical powerhouse, and out of their several awards for their latest album, rock songwriting is where they should triumph.

PREDICTION: Florence + The Machine, “What Kind of Man”

Best Rock Album

James Bay, Chaos and the Calm
Death Cab for Cutie, Kintsugi
Highly Suspect, Mister Asylum
Muse, Drones
Slipknot, .5: The Grey Chapter

This is a varied selection, covering a wide swath of guitar genres, which is good to see. However, if Death Cab had been nominated in the Best Alternative Album category, they would have probably won that one. Here in Rock Album though, it’s a little less clear. Bombastic arena rockers Muse won this award once with The Resistance but the career lowpoint Drones probably isn’t strong (or obvious Grammy bait) enough to win here. Neither is Slipknot’s solid The Grey Chapter and I have no idea who the hell Highly Suspect are and how they got here instead of Imagine Dragons (who are terrible, but I’d expect them) or Foo Fighters (because this is their wheelhouse) or Brit math rockers Foals (who would have been an interesting surprise). Instead I’m guessing everydude blues rocker James Bay will get the win here over Death Cab, but I’d be very pleased if they took this.

PREDICTION: James Bay, Chaos and the Calm

Best Alternative Album

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Bjork, Vulnicura
My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
Tame Impala, Currents
Wilco, Star Wars

This award has always been a bit of a mess, as has the tag “alternative” in general. There’s a lot of surprise snubs in here: A nomination for Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit would have complemented her Best New Artist nod, and she would have likely taken the category if she’d been nominated. I don’t get the hype behind Twenty One Pilots’ cult hit Blurryface, but it definitely had a deserved chance here, as did CHVRCHES’ remarkable Every Open Eye or Blur’s reunion album The Magic Whip . Instead, we’re left with the high probability of an overrated Tame Impala record winning this award. Bjork always gets nominated but never wins, and Wilco’s quite solid Star Wars is probably the closest serious competitor. I’m not sure if Alabama Shakes will take this, though, but Tame Impala seems like the pick that the Grammys will obviously take, and that’s usually what wins.

PREDICTION: Tame Impala, Currents

Up next: Check out our thoughts on how well Kendrick Lamar and D’Angelo will do in the hip hop and R&B categories


Hip Hop and R&B

Best R&B Performance

Tamar Braxton, “If I Don’t Have You”
Andra Day, “Rise Up”
Hiatus Kayote, “Breathing Underwater”
Jeremih feat. J. Cole, “Planes”
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”

No Miguel here, and no way The Weeknd is winning for a song weaker than “Can’t Feel My Face,” so I think this is Tamar Braxton’s award to lose

PREDICTION: Tamar Braxton, “If I Don’t Have You”

Best Traditional R&B Performance

Faith Evans, “He Is”
Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Burn”
Tyrese, “Shame”
Charlie Wilson, “My Favorite Part of You”

I don’t know much about Traditional R&B, and the term (what is the definition of “traditional” here, exactly) seems nebulous, but I think Jazmine Sullivan might win here.

PREDICTION: Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Burn”

Best R&B Song

Miguel, “Coffee”
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Burn”
D’Angelo & The Vanguard, “Really Love”
Tyrese, “Shame”

While D’Angelo and Jazmine Sullivan are strong nominees in this songwriting award, Miguel’s swirling and acclaimed “Coffee” is the song I’m picking to win here, largely because it got snubbed in performance, “FourFiveSeconds” is also absent here and because I think the Grammys might be saving album for D’Angelo.

PREDICTION: Miguel, “Coffee”

Best R&B Album

Leon Bridges, Coming Home
D’Angelo & The Vanguard, Black Messiah
Andra Day, Cheers to the Fall
Jazmine Sullivan, Reality Show
Charlie Wilson, Forever Charlie

While Leon Bridges (who should have had a shot at Best New Artist) and Jazmine Sullivan put up fair fights, this award can only go to D’Angelo and it will be one of the biggest shocks of the night if he comes up empty here, especially after the Album of the Year snub. Consider this one of the best bets of the whole lot

PREDICTION: D’Angelo & The Vanguard, Black Messiah

Best Urban Contemporary Album

The Internet, Ego Death
Kehlani, You Should Be Here
Lianne Le Havas, Blood
Miguel, Wildheart
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

Like its sister category Best Alternative Album, I’m guessing that the win here will go to the wrong album, and I sure hope I’m incorrect here. Miguel’s Wildheart is the strongest album here and one of the best albums of the year. However I just know the Grammys are going to give this one to The Weeknd, especially if Taylor Swift shuts him out of all the pop categories.

PREDICTION: The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

Best Rap Performance

J. Cole, “Apparently”
Drake, “Back to Back”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake and Lil Wayne, “Truffle Butter”
Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom and Paul McCartney, “All Day”

One of the strongest categories of the night, with everything but “Truffle Butter” worthy of a trophy. While it would be great to see Fetty Wap avenge his Best New Artist snub, and it would be kinda great if Paul McCartney won Best Rap Performance, but I think Kendrick sweeps most of the rap categories. It will be much deserved for Kendrick to win the whole lot, and also a mea culpa from 2014, when Macklemore won three awards that Kendrick should have by all means won. “Alright” it is.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Big Sean feat. Kanye West and John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Jidenna feat. Roman GianArthur, “Classic Man”
Kendrick Lamar feat. Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat, “These Walls”
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown, “Only”

Only Common and John Legend’s Oscar winning Selma collaboration stands in Kendrick’s way for this one. “Glory” is “Grammy” enough that could have even been a rare Oscar winner to receive a Song of the Year nod. It’s up for two more awards, but I think here is where it becomes Kendrick’s one loss in the rap categories.

PREDICTION: Common & John Legend, “Glory”

Best Rap Song

Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom and Paul McCartney, “All Day”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Drake, “Energy”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

I think Common & John Legend will upset Kendrick in Rap/Sung Collaboration, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case in the songwriting category. “Alright” should win handedly

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

Best Rap Album

J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Dr. Dre, Compton
Drake, If You’re Reading This Its Too Late
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint

Kendrick definitely has this one. Compton, a lousy and overdue album, better not edge it out and be another outrageous loss in this category. Run the Jewels II would have provided some solid competition for Kendrick here. Since it’s surprisingly absent – and as good as that J. Cole album is – this will probably be an easy win for Mr. Lamar.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly

Up next: Who’s up for the country, folk and Americana awards? Find out on the next page!

Country, Folk and Americana

Best Country Solo Performance

Cam, “Burning House”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”
Keith Urban, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”

Probably Chris Stapleton. Usually Album of the Year nominees net a couple wins in their home categories and he’ll likely pick this one up. Cam is an intriguing possibility here, though.

PREDICTION: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

Brothers Osborne, “Stay A Little Longer”
Joey + Rory, “If I Needed You”
Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay, “The Driver”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”

“Girl Crush” will probably win this one and it’s certainly deserving of it. However, I’m also pulling for the sweet, low-key husband and wife bluegrass duo Joey + Rory here. Following Joey Martin Feek’s terminal cancer diagnosis signalling the likely end for the group, it would be great if they got a much deserved Grammy win. If they win instead of “Girl Crush”, I’m all for it.

PREDICTION: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”

Best Country Song

Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”
Tim McGraw, “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Brandy Clark, “Hold My Hand”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

For the songwriting award, I’m going to give my prediction to Chris Stapleton – again the Grammys usually give a bunch of awards to artists that get nominated in the big four – but this could really go any way.

PREDICTION: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

Best Country Album

Sam Hunt, Montevallo
Little Big Town, Pain Killer
Ashley Monroe, The Blade
Kasey Musgraves, Pageant Material
Chris Stapleton, Traveller

As strong as Kasey Musgraves’ new album is, I’m gonna chalk this one up as yet another win for Stapleton. The country awards are basically mostly his to lose.

PREDICTION: Chris Stapleton, Traveller

Best American Roots Performance

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, “And I Am Born to Die”
Buddy Guy, “Born to Play Guitar”
The Milk Carton Kids, “City of Our Lady”
Punch Brothers, “Julep”
Mavis Staples, “See That My Grave is Kept Clean”

I’m going to guess that Bela Fleck is a favorite here, but Mavis Staples’ song is quite superb and I think she’s got the best chance to take this one.

PREDICTION: Mavis Staples, “See That My Grave is Kept Clean”

Best American Roots Song

The Mavericks, “All Night Long”
Don Henley & Merle Haggard, “The Cost of Living”
Punch Brothers, “Julep”
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, “The Traveling Kind”
Jason Isbell, “24 Frames”

One thing the Grammys loves to do is award graying rock legends in esoteric categories. That’s what will probably happen here as Henley and Haggard upset a very good cuts from country icons Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell and former Drive-By Truckers member Jason Isbell. And in that it’s Henley’s only nomination for something off his high profile comeback album Cass Country and you have an unsurprising shoe-in for this award

PREDICTION: Don Henley & Merle Haggard, “The Cost of Living”

Best Americana Album

Brandi Carlile, The Firewatcher’s Daughter
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, The Traveling Kind
Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
The Mavericks, Mono
The Punch Brothers, The Phosphorescent Blues

Isbell has a better chance at an award here, for his highly acclaimed new solo album. If Emmylou and Rodney take it instead, that will be just as fine, but Isbell is definitely the favorite here.

PREDICTION: Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free

Best Bluegrass Album

Dale Ann Bradley, Pocket Full of Keys
Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, Before the Sun Goes Down
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, In Session
Ralph Stanley & Friends, Man of Constant Sorrow
The Steeldrivers, The Muscle Shoals Recordings

At 88 years old, Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley is the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry. Yet he’s only won this award once, in 2002 for a collaboration album with Jim Lauderdale and the Clinch Mountain Boys. I’m predicting he’ll take it this year.

PREDICTION: Ralph Stanley & Friends, Man of Constant Sorrow

Best Folk Album

Norman Blake, Wood, Wire & Woods
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn
Rhiannon Giddens, Tomorrow is My Turn
Patty Griffin, Servant of Love
Glen Hansard, Didn’t He Ramble

My prediction is for the debut solo record from Carolina Chocolate Drops frontwoman Rhiannon Giddens, but Oscar winner Glen Hansard, and bluegrass great Norman Blake are also strong contenders.

PREDICTION: Rhiannon Giddens, Tomorrow is My Turn

Up next: All the other awards we’re comfortable talking about, including spoken word and video of the year.


Best Comedy Album

Lisa Lampanelli, Back to the Drawing Board
Wyatt Cenac, Brooklyn
Jay Mohr, Happy. A Lot.
Craig Ferguson, Just Being Honest
Louis C.K., Live at Madison Square Garden

Usually comedy is a no surprises affair, and I think that Louis C.K. is the clear favorite and is probably going to take it. The Wyatt Cenac record is my personal favorite of these, though.

PREDICTION: Louis C.K., Live at Madison Square Garden

Best Spoken Word Album

Patti Smith, Blood on Snow
Dick Cavett, Brief Encounters
Jimmy Carter, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety
Janis Ian and Jean Smart, Patience and Sarah
Amy Poehler, Yes Please

This one’s up in the air as it covers a bunch of different performers that the Grammys love to give this award to: legendary musicians (Ian, Smith), humor albums of the non-stand up variety (Cavett, Poehler) and audio-of-the-book from former Presidents (Carter). However, if Patti Smith wins this it will be her first every Grammy! How nuts is that?! I’m gonna have to give her the edge in that regard: The Grammys love to make nice with legends they’d previously snubbed.

PREDICTION: Patti Smith, Blood on Snow

Best Musical Theater Album

An American in Paris
Fun Home
The King and I
Something Rotten!

When I made my predictions for the Big Four awards on Facebook, I actually had Hamilton predicted for Album of the Year. That didn’t happen, but it’s going easily take this one. Consider this another one of the night’s sure things.


Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

Empire: Season 1
Fifty Shades of Grey
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Pitch Perfect 2

I think this one goes to the compiler of the soundtrack? In that case, this thing might go to Pitch Perfect 2. Not really super-sure about this one.

PREDICTION: Pitch Perfect 2

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
Justin Hurwitz, Whiplash

The score was one of the most striking things about Birdman, and I think the film’s Best Picture win will give it a leg up here.

PREDICTION: Antonio Sanchez, Birdman

Best Song Written for Visual Media

The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (from Fifty Shades of Grey)
Common & John Legend, “Glory” (from Selma)
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (from Fifty Shades of Grey)
Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (from Furious 7)
Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You” (from The Hunting Ground)

Gee, I hope all these nominations for the two Fifty Shades songs and “See You Again” doesn’t mean that they’re Oscar Song of the Year contenders (of course that probably means they are: I love Ellie Goulding, but “Love Me Like You Do” isn’t her at her best; Neither is “Earned It” something that best showcases The Weeknd). This is easily Common and John Legend’s category again, with a strong showing from Lady Gaga and Diane Warren providing strong competition

PREDICTION: Common & John Legend, “Glory” (from Selma)

Producer of the Year, Non Classical

Jeff Bhasker
Dave Cobb
Larry Klien
Blake Mills

This is been a big year for Diplo, and he’s nominated here for cuts from his groups Jack U and Major Lazer, as well as cuts from Madonna and Travie McCoy. He should easily best Bhasker, his closest competition, here.


Best Music Video

ASAP Rocky, “LSD” (director: Dexter Navy)
The Dead Weather, “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” (director: Cooper Roberts & Ian Schwartz)
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (director: The Little Homies & Colin Tilley)
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood” (director: Joseph Kahn)
Pharrell Williams, “Freedom” (director: Paul Hunter)

This is basically between two videos: Kendrick’s visually striking and symbolic “Alright” and Taylor’s star-studded, big budget, Joseph Kahn directed epic. “Bad Blood” struck me as VMA bait (it, natch, won Video of the Year there) and its concept is muddled. Unlike the VMAs, however, the Grammys tend to like artier videos, and I’m going to guess that will tip this in “Alright”‘s favor. However, it could also easily go to “Bad Blood”. I’m going to err on the side of caution and pick “Alright” as my prediction, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if “Bad Blood” took this one.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (director: The Little Homies & Colin Tilley)

Best Music Film

Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (director: Alex Gibney)
Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways (director: Dave Grohl)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (director: Liz Garbus)
Roger Waters: The Wall (directors: Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
Amy (director: Asif Kapadia)

This award – formerly called “Best Long Form Music Video” (which often wasn’t the case) – usually goes to documentaries or concert film (or in rare cases, actual long form music videos). This is a pretty solid list of nominees. While the Grammys would give this award to Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters thing in any other year, it’s up against two strong music docs in the form of What Happened Miss Simone? and Amy. While Amy may be an Oscar favorite for Best Documentary, I’m going to guess that the Grammys will edge this towards the Nina Simone doc, but this is another one that could go one of two ways.

PREDICTION: What Happened, Miss Simone? (director: Liz Garbus)

Those are all the awards I’m comfortable predicting. I’m not brushed up well enough on classical, tropical, regional folk, engineering or album notes to make solid guesses in those categories. While I am familiar with the genres, I don’t know enough of the nominees in the Latin, jazz, spoken word and world categories to make solid predictions there. You can check out the other categories I didn’t go through here.

Of note, David Bowie’s greatest-hits album offering “Sue (or In A Season of Crime)” is the only familiar rock name up for award I’ve barely heard of called Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals. Also, Kamasi Washington’s highly acclaimed The Epic was shut out of all the jazz categories (that’s why I didn’t make any predictions there; It would have been the clear winner otherwise).

What are your predictions for the Grammys? Let us know in the comments!



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