Yeah, it's worth it for Missy Elliott to work it.

The rapper's efforts on her boot-knocking anthem "Work It" from her 2002 album, Under Construction, have paid off--she leads the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards Nominations with eight nominations, the music network announced Thursday.

Elliott's freaky music video, which features bumble bees, twisted trees and 360-degree head spins, is up for Video of the Year, Best Female Video and Best Hip-Hop Video. In the techie categories, it's nominated for Best Direction, Special Effects, Art Direction, Editing and Cinematography.

Close behind is Justin Timberlake with seven nominations for clips from his debut solo album, Justified (say bye-bye-bye 'N Sync), including two nods for his disco hit "Rock Your Body" and five for his lost love lament "Cry Me a River," featuring the boy bander's revenge on a cheating Britney Spears look-alike.

Next--and we're not making this up--Johnny Cash's version of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt" racked up six nominations, including Video of the Year, Best Male Video and Best Direction.

"I am overwhelmed by this great honor," the unlikely VMA candidate said in a written statement. "I thank you all for thinking of me. It's been 48 years since I cut my first record and it's nice that people are still digging them up."

At this point you may be wondering just who determines the nominees? The selections are made by a pool of 500 music industry types and viewers, according to MTV. Fans will get their chance to weigh in by voting on the Viewer's Choice and MTV2 Awards categories.

Elliott, Timberlake and Cash will go head-to-head with Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and 50 Cent's "In Da Club," for Video of the Year. Both rappers received five nods apiece.

The odds look good for Elliott, a two-time VMA winner who's on a roll. Last week she was nominated for two Lady of Soul Awards for her sexy single; she'll appear in a Gap ad campaign, which kicks off July 28, alongside Madonna to the strains of "Get Into the Groove" remixed; Elliott's also working on her fifth studio album, which is scheduled to hit stores in November.

Other nominees with multiple chances at carrying home the gold (or at least gold-plate) include Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z, who upped their chances by collaborating on each others videos. The are-they-or-aren't-they couple nabbed four nominations for her single "Crazy in Love" and one nomination for his single "03 Bonnie & Clyde."

Alt-rock band the White Stripes bagged four nominations for "Seven Nation Army." Ditto for Radiohead, which tallied a quartet of noms for "There There." Meanwhile, newbie Kelly Clarkson managed to pick up three nods for her hit "Miss Independent" off her debut album Thankful, almost rivaling pop diva J.Lo, who earned a respectable four nominations for "I'm Glad."

Hosting the August 28 shindig is Chris Rock, with performances scheduled at New York City's Radio City Music Hall from Christina Aguilera, who scored four nominations of her own for "Dirrty," and Coldplay, which received three nods for "The Scientist."

Here's a rundown of the major categories:

Video of the Year:50 Cent, "In Da Club" Johnny Cash, "Hurt" Missy Elliott, "Work It" Eminem, "Lose Yourself" Justin Timberlake, "Cry Me a River"

Best Male Video:50 Cent, "In Da Club" Eminem, "Lose Yourself" Justin Timberlake, "Cry Me a River" Johnny Cash, "Hurt" John Mayer, "Your Body Is A Wonderland"

Best Female Video:Avril Lavigne, "I'm With You" Christina Aguilera featuring Redman, "Dirrty" Missy Elliott, "Work It" Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, "Crazy In Love" Jennifer Lopez, "I'm Glad"

Best Group Video:B2K and P. Diddy, "Bump, Bump, Bump" Good Charlotte, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army" Coldplay, "The Scientist" The Donnas, "Take It Off"

Best Rap Video:2Pac featuring Nas, "Thugz Mansion" Eminem, "Lose Yourself" Nas, "I Can" 50 Cent, "In Da Club" Ludacris featuring Mystikal and I-20, "Move"

Best R&B Video:Aaliyah, "I Miss You" Ashanti, "Rock Wit U" Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, "Crazy in Love" Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, "Dilemma" R. Kelly, "Ignition Remix"

Best Hip-Hop Video:Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey, "I Know What You Want" Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé, "03 Bonnie & Clyde" Missy Elliott, "Work It" Nelly, "Hot in Herre" Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell and Uncle Charlie Wilson, "Beautiful"

Best Rock Video:Evanescence, "Bring Me to Life" Linkin Park, "Somewhere I Belong" The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army" Good Charlotte, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" Metallica, "St. Anger"

Best Pop Video:Avril Lavigne, "Sk8er Boi" Christina Aguilera featuring Redman, "Dirrty" Justin Timberlake, "Cry Me a River" Kelly Clarkson, "Miss Independent" No Doubt featuring Lady Shaw, "Underneath It All"

Best New Artist in a Video:50 Cent, "In Da Club" Evanscence, "Bring Me to Life" Sean Paul, "Get Busy" All American Rejects, "Swing Swing" Kelly Clarkson, "Miss Independent" Simple Plan, "Addicted"

Best Video from a Film: Britney Spears featuring Pharrell of N.E.R.D., "Boys Co-Ed" from Austin Powers Goldmember JC Chasez, "Blowing Me Up [With Her Love]" from Drumline Eminem, "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile Madonna, "Die Another Day" from Die Another Day

Viewer?s Choice:50 Cent, "In Da Club" Eminem, "Lose Yourself" Timberlake, "Cry Me a River" Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, "Crazy in Love" Good Charlotte, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" Kelly Clarkson, "Miss Independent"

MTV2 Award:AFI, "Girl's Not Grey" Interpol, "PDA" The Roots featuring Cody Chesnutt, "The Seed 2.0" Common featuring Mary J. Blige, "Come Close" Queens of the Stone Age, "No One Knows"

Breakthrough Video: Coldplay, "The Scientist" Sum 41, "The Hell Song" Queens of the Stone Age, "No One Knows" Floetry, "Floetic" Kenna, "New Sacred Cow"

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