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Sabotage! Iconic video turns 20

NEED TO KNOW
  • How did the Beastie Boys not win Video of the Year?
  • MCA was right back in '94: 'This is an outrage'
  • Cop-staches, aviators, Ad-Rock's wails proven timeless
Sabotage! Iconic video turns 20

Twenty years later, Nathaniel Hornblower has been vindicated.

The Beastie Boys' iconic "Sabotage" was released 20 years ago, and looking back now, we know that Hornblower was right, we were wrong and Michael Stipe gets to stare every day at a trophy that perhaps should belong to someone else.

Hornblower -- the accented, lederhosen-clad, film-directing alter ego of Beastie Boys' member MCA -- was justifiably outraged when the brilliant '70s cop schlock masterpiece for the rap/rock (but mostly rock) anthem "Sabotage" was passed over for Best Direction at the 1994 Video Music Awards, in favor of Stipe and R.E.M.'s melancholy reflection on how much traffic stinks, "Everybody Hurts."

Beyond 'Brass Monkey': Try out these Beastie Boys tunes

The righteous Hornblower, in full costume, bum-rushed Stipe's acceptance speech (Ohhh, you thought Kanye invented that move? Precious.) to express his frustration over "Sabotage" director Spike Jonze's -- yes, that Spike Jonze -- defeat and the alleged shenanigans that took place in the counting room to ensure such an inglorious result.

"This is an outrage," Hornblower/MCA/Adam Yauch began, with a confused yet amused Stipe behind him. "Since I was a small boy, I had dreamed that Spike would win this... And I just want to tell everybody that this is a farce, that I had all the ideas for 'Star Wars' and everything!"

Don't let the bushy red mustache or the sight of -- oh my God is that... Daisy Fuentes?! -- distract you: 20 years later, we can say for certain that "Sabotage" was in fact the best music video of 1994 and of many other years, too.

It didn't win that Best Director award or any of the five (including Video of the Year) it was up for, but no matter. History has a way of sorting out the champions.

Anybody ever remake "Everybody Hurts" out of Legos? No. They most definitely did not.

The song's relentless guitars paired with Adam Horowitz's vein-bulging nasal yells provided a seamless soundtrack as the three Beastie Boys chased, screamed and fought each other across Los Angeles in their tremendous cop-staches and aviators.

Starring Nathan Wind as Cochese! Vic Colfari as Bobby, "The Rookie"!

That there appeared to be a plot that nobody really ever understood behind this frantic detective show parody hardly matters. It was fun to look at, awesome to mosh to, and capable of being enjoyed irony-free despite its ridiculous look and feel because we were in on the joke with the three coolest humans to ever walk the Earth.

And it's still providing pretty solid source material for guilt-free laughs. Just last year, a group of middle-aged Illinois librarians recreated the video as strict enforcers of checkout policies and late returns.

The homage arrived four years after MTV corrected one of history's great injustices, by awarding "Sabotage" a VMA for 'Best Video (That Should Have Won a Moonman).'

The video that claimed that prize back in 1994? Aerosmith's "Cryin'," for cryin' out loud.

Of course, you know there's only one appropriate response to that sort of unsettling information: "Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii CAN'T stand it! / I know you planned it! I'mma set it straight, this Watergate!"

Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN

The second best "Sabotage" video ever made:

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