With the writers strike putting big events in an awkward position and a possible strike by SAG-AFTRA looming, awards shows seem like the last thing the entertainment world is concerned about. But the BET Awards 2023 aren’t letting those details stop them. Nominations for the big show are out, and while the music categories don’t offer anything unexpected, there are plenty of surprises in the film and TV nominations. Notably in who’s not nominated.
Embattled Marvel star Jonathan Majors is absent in the Best Actor category, leaving room for a surprising inclusion. Snowfall’s Amin Joseph and Damson Idris are up against Oscar-nominee Brian Tyree Henry; Nope star Daniel Kaluuya; Atlanta’s Donald Glover; Creed III star/director Michael B. Jordan; and BMF star Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory. This isn’t a knock against anyone in particular, but nothing for Abbott Elementary’s Tyler James Willams or Bel Air’s Jabari Banks and Olly Sholotan? This highlights the ridiculous idea of putting movies and TV in the same category. They’re not the same and should not be treated as such.
The Best Actress nominations are a murderer’s row of amazing performances, but there’s still plenty of notable omissions, including Naomi Ackie in Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody; Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson and Sheryl Lee Ralph; Snowfall’s Michael Hyatt; Angela Lewis; and Gail Bean and, obviously, Dominique Fishback, who did extraordinary work in Swarm. If TV and movies weren’t combined, there would be space for all these fantastic women to be recognized. It does feel weird to have TV Bel Air’s Coco Jones; Euphoria’s Zendaya: and Abbott Elementary’s Janelle James competing against movie stars like Angela Bassett; Viola Davis; and Keke Palmer.
As you guessed, there’s no Best TV Series category, but BET did get Best Movie right. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; Creed III; Emancipation; Nope; The Woman King; Till; and Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody are all up for the big award.
Over on the music side, Drake leads all nominees with seven nods. He’s followed by GloRilla with six, then comes 21 Savage and Lizzo with five. Beyoncé and SZA, who have two of the biggest albums of the year, each garnered four noms. The most interesting group of nominees comes in the Viewer’s Choice Award, which is voted on by the fans during the show. It features fan favorites “About Damn Time” by Lizzo; “Wait For U” by Future feat Drake and Tems; “Super Freaky Girl” by Nicki Minaj; “Break My Soul” by Beyoncé; “Jimmy Cooks” by Drake feat 21 Savage; and “First Class” by Jack Harlow.
There’s no word on performers yet, but it would be great to see the show branch out and include more diverse genres of Black music. There’s more to us than hip-hop and R&B>
The BET Awards 2023 air live on Sunday, June 25 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT on BET.