HomeEntertainmentMusicCMA Awards 2020: Complete List of Every Nominee for Every Award

CMA Awards 2020: Complete List of Every Nominee for Every Award

by Jon D. B.
(Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)

It’s here, country fans – The 54th Annual CMA Awards are just hours away! Make sure you’re ready to root for your favorites with our comprehensive list of nominees.

With the ACM Awards and CMT Awards behind us, the cream of the country crop will soon receive their coveted CMA Awards. For 2020, the awards show celebrates its staggering 54th annual event. Unlike most events in 2020, however, the CMA Awards are sticking to tradition – and being held live.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring all of these incredible performances to life next Wednesday night and give our artists the chance to come together, in a big way, on television for the first time in months,” the shows executive producer, Robert Deaton, says in a CMAs press release.

“As safety is our top priority, we have worked tirelessly over the past several months to fully transform Music City Center into a breathtaking setup that resembles the very first ‘CMA Awards Banquet and Show’ from 1967,” Deaton reveals. This alone should have country fans reeling with excitement.

Deaton also promises and ensures “our nominees, performers and their guests a fully safe and physically distant environment. We are honored, in this very challenging time, to help provide an escape and deliver a live awards show experience unlike any other this year.”

For those that can’t make it to Music City Center in Nashville November 11th, the show airs LIVE at 8/7c on ABC.

And now for the big question – who are we rooting for this year? We’ve compiled the full list of nominees for all categories below – and there are some wildcards for each, to be sure.

Eric Church
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood
Keith Urban
Luke Combs

For many country fans and artists, EOTY is the main event. Beyond-coveted and a mark of immense success in the genre, even just one EOTY award can serve as a mark of a lasting career for country artists. In the past, Garth Brooks has won the most EOTY awards – with a near-unbelievable 7 of them under his belt. Brooks also took home the award last year. For 2020, however, the icon is off the nominations list.

In his stead, many are pushing for Carrie Underwood to take home this award – and not have to share it with a male counterpart as she did her ACM award. The EOTY crown is notoriously male-heavy. The last female winner was Taylor Swift almost a decade ago. But competition is strong in the form of legends like Keith Urban, and contemporary icons like Luke Combs. Urban won in 2018, while Combs, Underwood, and Miranda Lambert have never won the award.

 Loretta Lynn was the first female artist to be honored with this award way back in 1972.

Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris
Kacey Musgraves
Carrie Underwood

There’s no doubt that Maren Morris has to be beyond thrilled with her competition for this award – and terrified. With Miranda Lambert nominated once again, she could take home her 8th win in this category. Underwood trails right behind her for this award, but one of these two incredible women has won the category every single year for the past ten years – until Kacey Musgraves took it in 2019.

Can Musgraves hold her crown and pull another win for 2020? Or will newcomer Maren Morris pull a surprise victory? Or will the phenomenally talented black card – Ashley McBryde – take it all?

Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban

Believe it or not, Keith Urban has not won this award since 2006 – when he won three years in a row. He is, however, nominated almost every single year. Last year, Luke Combs took home MVY. He’s up for it again in 2020 but has stiff competition from Christ Stapleton, who won the award an amazing four years in a row before Combs took the crown.

Before that, Blake Shelton took home MVY an unheard of 5 years in a row. Shelton is not nominated this year. In his place, fan-favorites Eric Church and Thomas Rhett step up to the plate. If either wins, it’ll be their first win in this category.

Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Rascal Flatts

Boy, to be Midland on this list… Every other nominated group has won this award several times over. Old Dominion won the last two years back to back. Before that, Little Big Town won a staggering six years in a row. Before them, from 2009-2011 was Lady A(ntebellum). And before that? Rascal Flatts for 5 years running at the height of their career.

Needless to say, if newcomers Midland win this award, it will be their first. As a result, they would be crushing four reigning champions in the process. So… Go Midland?

Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

It almost seems unfair to have a “Vocal Duo” category at this point. With an unbelievable – and meteorically unmatched – 14 wins in this category, Brooks & Dunn have become the vocal duo of country music.

That being said, Dan + Shay took home VDY last year together. Before them, the Brothers Osborne won three years in a row. And before that – Florida Georgia Line did the same. As a result, Maddie & Tae should feel beyond successful to be a nominee in this company – regardless if they win or not.

Interestingly enough, the award was first given in 1970 as a “spin-off” of Vocal Group of the Year to Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner.

Jimmie Allen
Ingrid Andress
Gabby Barrett
Morgan Wallen
Carly Pearce

New Artist of the Year is perhaps the most exciting – and definitely most unpredictable – of the CMA Awards categories. Here we have the only category that isn’t notorious for repeating victors year after year. Instead, new blood is applauded within.

2020 is a crazy year for this award, too, as this group of diverse fan favorites are all worthy of winning. Last year, Ashley McBryde won this award. Before that was Luke Combs, and then Jon Pardi before him. Maren Morris won in 2016 and is now nominated for FVY alongside legends Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.

Jon Pardi, Heartache Medication (Producers: Bart Butler, Ryan Gore, Jon Pardi)
Ashley McBryde, Never Will (Producers: Jay Joyce, John Peets)
Old Dominion, Old Dominion  (Producers: Shane McAnally, Old Dominion)
Miranda Lambert, Wildcard (Producer: Jay Joyce)
Luke Combs, What You See Is What You Get (Producer: Scott Moffatt)

Stars headline their own albums, and rarely do the behind-the-scenes geniuses get any credit. Not so with Album of the Year, however. This award is a shared one – and goes to both Artist(s) and Producer(s) together.

That being said, this is a really hard call. Each of these five albums are phenomenal – and were beyond smash hits with fans. if there’s been one runaway hit, though – it’s Ashley McBryde’s Never Will. We hate to call a race before the horses leave the stalls, but if McBryde doesn’t take home AOTY – color us shocked.

“Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert (Songwriters: Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby, Miranda Lambert)
“The Bones,” Maren Morris (Songwriters: Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz)
“Even Though I’m Leaving,” Luke Combs (Songwriters: Luke Combs, Wyatt Durrette, Ray Fulcher)
“I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Songwriters: Luke Combs, Randy Montana, Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton)
“More Hearts Than Mine,” Ingrid Andress (Songwriters: Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis, Derek Southerland)

Awarded to songwriters, not performing artists, SOTY is another category that recognizes the BTS talent. This CMA Awards title was first given out at the inaugural 1967 CMA Awards – so it’s an original. Then, it went to Dallas Frazier for his song “There Goes My Everything” which had been sung at that time by Jack Greene.

Song of the Year can, however, go to the artist themselves if they are the singer/songwriter of the tune. Such is the case this year for Ingrid Andress, Luke Combs, and Maren Morris.

“I Hope,” Gabby Barrett (Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale; Mix Engineer: Buckley Miller)
“Beer Never Broke My Heart,” Luke Combs (Producer: Scott Moffatt; Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley)
“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber (Producer: Dan Smyers; Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano)
“Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert (Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hull, Jay Joyce)
“The Bones,” Maren Morris (Producer: Greg Kurstin; Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin)

Again, this award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s) to honor all facets of what makes a hit a hit. For many, this CMA Awards title is as impactful as Entertainer of the Year. In effect – it names the country anthem of that specific year.

Last year saw Blake Shelton win for “God’s Country”, a phenomenally successful hit for the star. Before that, Chris Stapleton won in 2018 for the moving “Broken Halos”. Miranda Lambert is the only solo female winner of this category in the past decade. If she pulls another win, it’ll be her second. Maren Morris, alongside Dan + Shay, was nominated for this category last year.

This is Gabby Barrett’s first nomination.

“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber (Producer: Dan Smyers)
“Be a Light,” Thomas Rhett with Reba McEntire, Lady A, Chris Tomlin and Keith Urban (Producer: Dann Huff)
“The Bones,” Maren Morris feat. Hozier (Producer: Greg Kurstin)
“Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” Miranda Lambert with Maren Morris, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes, Caylee Hammack and Elle King (Producer: Jay Joyce)
“I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Producer: Busbee)

Originally, this award was given as “Vocal Event of the Year Award”. A confusing title, yeah? The first of its kind was in 1988 under this name. The title was then changed to Musical Event of the Year in 2004. According to the CMA Awards, “The award recognizes a collaborative track released during the eligibility year by two or more artists who do not regularly work together.”

Now that that’s cleared up, we can say that it’s a good thing Kenny Chesney’s not on the nomination list. Why? Because the icon holds the record for nominations in this category with 12. He won three times. While Tim McGraw and Faith Hill hold the record for most collaborations, they’ve only won once in 1997.

This year, however, it looks like everyone who is anyone in country is up for the award. But which motley crew will take it home?

“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber (Director: Patrick Tracy)
“Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert (Director: Trey Fanjoy)
“Homemade,” Jake Owen (Director: Justin Clough)
“I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice (Director: Sam Siske)
“Second One to Know,” Chris Stapleton (Director: David Coleman)

Non-country fans may be shocked to see Justin Bieber on this list… for a second time. Country enthusiasts, however, know that his collaboration with Dan + Shay has been a smashing success. As a result, their hit song & video combo with “10,000 Hours” may take this one home.

Stiff competition comes from four other phenomenal videos, though. This category, in particular, honors “excellence in country music videos that have been released during the eligibility years and is awarded to both the artist and the director.”

Jenee Fleenor (Fiddle)
Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar)
Rob McNelley (Guitar)
Ilya Toshinsky (Guitar)
Derek Wells (Guitar)

Last year’s win by Jenee Fleenor made history. From 1967 to 2018, every single winner of the musician category was male. In 2019, all that changed with Fleenor’s beyond-deserved victory.

This year, Fleenor is up for the award once again, pitting her fiddle against four guitarists. The category itself goes a long way to recognize the oft-unsung heroes of country music: the phenomenally talented musicians that make the genre’s distinct sound possible.

That’s it, country fans!

Be sure to tune in to ABC tomorrow, November 11th at 8PM Eastern, 7PM Central to watch the AMC Awards LIVE!

Until then, check out our extensive coverage of the nominees leading up to the big night.