The Recording Academy may have expanded the field in the four general categories from five to eight nominees, but considering that thousands of eligible albums came out last year, snubs are not only inevitable but also guaranteed.
Take, for example, former best new artist winner Sam Smith.
The platinum singer performed “Pray” at January’s ceremony and was the king of the proceedings in 2015, when he received best new artist and his smash ballad “Stay With Me” took home honors for record and song of the year.
Despite the push toward streaming services and the race to the bottom of the sales charts for CDs and DVDs, there is still an awful lot of classical product being released on shiny discs. So much so that it’s really impossible for Grammy committees to fairly judge all that’s out there. But select they do anyway.
American orchestras monopolized the best orchestral performance category in nominations announced Friday. Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony, who won two Grammys last year, are back with Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony (also nominated for best engineering). Perennial contenders Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony scored with their smoothly played set of all four Schumann symphonies, and David Alan Miller’s enterprising survey of American composers Carl Ruggles, Steven Stucky and John Harbison deserves attention.
The Seattle Symphony leads all orchestras with three nominations — two for its present music director, Ludovic Morlot, in Aaron Jay Kernis’ traditionally shaped Violin Concerto with soloist James Ehnes (in the classical instrumental solo and contemporary composition categories), and one for its future music director, Thomas Dausgaard, in Nielsen’s Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 (orchestral performance), a strong opening entry for a complete Nielsen cycle. There were no nominations for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which has recorded little lately.
A surprise challenger infiltrated the musical theater album category when the Grammy nominees were announced Friday: The television special “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” starring Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper and John Legend, landed a nomination next to Tony Award winners “The Band’s Visit,” “Carousel,” “My Fair Lady” and “Once on This Island.”
Long considered Broadway’s Grammy category, the winner is often a cast album for whichever show won the best musical or best musical revival Tony Award. “Dear Evan Hansen” won last year. In 2016, “Hamilton” took the Grammy.
Thanks to this year’s twist, the Tonys’ best musical, “The Band’s Visit,” and musical revival, “Once on This Island,” are not exactly shoo-ins for a Grammy win.
Recording Academy voters were most impressed this year with the sound of Wakanda, the fictional African country from the film “Black Panther.”
The music assembled by Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar to accompany the Marvel Studios blockbuster received a field-leading eight nominations for its album and singles, including the hat trick of recognition in the top three categories of record, album and song of the year.
This is the second time in Lamar’s career that he has led the Grammy nominees. Lamar went into the 2016 ceremony with 11 nominations tied to his “To Pimp a Butterfly" and last year, his “Damn” competed for album of the year, ultimately losing to Bruno Mars.
Nominations for the 2019 Grammy Awards were revealed Friday in Los Angeles, with multiple nominations going to Drake, Brandi Carlile, Cardi B and the soundtracks to "Black Panther” and "A Star is Born." The 61st Grammy Awards are scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 10 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
On Friday, the Recording Academy unveiled the nominees for album of the year.
Cardi B, “Invasion of Privacy;” Brandi Carlile, “By the Way, I Forgive You;” Drake, “Scorpion;” H.E.R., “H.E.R.;” Post Malone, Beer Bongs & Bentleys;” Janelle Monae, “Dirty Computer;” Kacey Musgraves, “Golden Hour;” and the “Black Panther” soundtrack overseen by Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar will will be in the running at the 2019 Grammy Awards. This marks the first time eight artists will battle it out for the top prize.