David Fincher, Spike Jonze … and Taylor Swift: How her VMAs win for Best Direction was historic

Taylor Swift didn’t win Video of the Year at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards like she did in 2019 for “You Need to Calm Down,” but she still took home a substantial prize: Best Direction for “The Man,” which was actually her solo directing debut and put her in some pretty impressive company when it comes to VMA-winning directors. Check out the complete list of this year’s winners here.

Some of the most lauded filmmakers in Hollywood have come from the world of music videos. Oscar nominee David Fincher (“The Social Network”) won VMAs for helming Madonna‘s “Express Yourself” and “Vogue” and Justin Timberlake‘s “Suit and Tie.” Oscar winner Spike Jonze (“Her”) prevailed for Weezer‘s “Buddy Holly” and Fatboy Slim‘s “Praise You” and “Weapon of Choice.”

Other noteworthy filmmakers like Tarsem (“The Cell”), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine” and “Battle of the Sexes”) and Melina Matsoukas (“Queen and Slim”) have prevailed in this VMAs category, which is decided by music professionals as opposed to other top categories that are voted on by fans. So Swift joins a pretty prestigious list of directors.

Swift’s victory is significant for other reasons. She’s only the fifth artist to win for directing her own video, following George Michael (“Father Figure,” 1988), Beck (“The New Pollution,” 1997), Erykah Badu (“Honey,” 2008) and Adam Yauch (“Make Some Noise,” 2011). And Swift is only the second woman ever to win as a solo director, following Melina Matsoukas for Beyonce‘s “Formation” in 2016. So this year it took another woman to do “The Man’s” job.

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