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Beyonce Is 1 for 18 in the Grammys’ Big Four Categories: A Closer Look

todayFebruary 7, 2023

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Beyoncé made history at the 2023 Grammy Awards on Sunday, becoming the first person ever to win 32 of the Recording Academy’s shiny gramophones. But just one of those 32 awards has come in a Big Four category (album, record and song of the year plus best new artist). It happened on the 2010 telecast, when Bey won song of the year for co-writing her dance smash “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”

Beyoncé has been nominated in Big Four categories 18 times. That means she’s had to politely smile as someone else walked up to accept a Big Four award that she was nominated for 17 times. In 2017, she famously lost the three top awards to Adele. In 2001, she and her Destiny’s Child colleagues lost two of the top three awards to U2. In 2021, two of her singles lost to a Billie Eilish hit.

It’s hard to feel too sorry for an artist who has won more Grammys than Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Prince and Elton John combined. And yet, the fact that Beyoncé has a 1-17 track record in the Big Four categories – which are by far the most closely watched and prestigious – is galling to the Beyhive, and to many others who believe it shows that Beyoncé (and Black artists in general) are undervalued by the Academy.

That said, she has twice lost to other Black artists in Big Four categories. Two years ago, “Black Parade” lost song of the year to H.E.R.’s BLM anthem “I Can’t Breathe.” This year, “Break My Soul” lost record of the year to Lizzo’s jubilant “About Damn Time.”

Here’s a closer look at every time Beyoncé was nominated in a Big Four category. The dates shown are the dates of that year’s Grammy telecast.

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todayFebruary 7, 2023

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