Maren Morris Leads CMA Awards Nominations With Six

The Country Music Association went with an all-female hosting lineup for this year’s show, and that woman-celebrating theme continued when nominations for the 53rd annual CMA Awards were announced Wednesday morning: Maren Morris led the pack with six nods.

Morris’ sophomore album, “Girl,” is up for album of the year, while the song of the same name, a recent No. 1 at country radio, is nominated in the single, song and music video categories. Her collaboration with Brothers Osborne, “All My Favorite People,” got a nod for musical event of the year. Morris also received a nomination for female vocalist of the year.

In short, Morris got a nomination in every category she possibly could have — with the exception of entertainer of the year. The CMA continues to reserve that top category for veteran acts with a lot of arena tours under their belt, even if that means leaving out obviously zeitgeist-commanding artists who have recently risen to the level of selling out amphitheaters, like Morris and Kacey Musgraves.

The CMAs have sometimes been criticized for nominating an exclusively male slate for entertainer of the year, as was the case, controversially, in 2018. This year, though, Carrie Underwood slipped back into the mix, for the first time since 2016. (She’ll be returning as host of the Nov. 13 telecast, joined by Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire.) Joining Underwood as entertainer of the year nominees are Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban.

Coming in behind Morris with four nominations were Brothers Osbourne, all of them for collaborations with Morris or Dierks Bentley (including single, musical event and music video). Dan + Shay got three, for single, album and vocal duo — but Dan Smyers got a fourth for song of the year as the co-writer of one of the duo’s hits, “Tequila.”

Also getting three nominations, besides Dan + Shay: Underwood (entertainer, album, female vocalist), Blake Shelton (single, musical event, music video), Dierks Bentley (single, male vocalist, music video), Church (entertainer, album, music video), Luke Combs (song, male vocalist, musical event), Musgraves (song, female vocalist, music video) and Stapleton (entertainer, single, male vocalist). Producers Greg Kurstin, Dann Huff and Scott Hendricks also picked up three nods each.

Several other artists came away with two nominations: Thomas Rhett (album, male vocalist), Urban (entertainer, male vocalist), Brooks & Dunn (vocal duo, musical event), Brooks (entertainer, musical event) and Midland (vocal group, new artist).

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” was considered by some to be the biggest country song of the year and by many others (like the Billboard chart) not to be a country song at all. That polarization was reflected in its near-shutout at the CMAs. It did get one nomination, as the remix version with Billy Ray Cyrus picked up a nod for musical event of the year.

The show will be broadcast on ABC from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Nov. 13.

A complete list of nominations:


Garth Brooks

Eric Church

Chris Stapleton

Carrie Underwood

Keith Urban

Award goes to Artist, Producer(s), and Mix Engineer

“Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley Feat. Brothers Osborne
Producers: Ross Copperman, Jon Randall, Arturo Buenahora, Jr.
Mix Engineer: F. Reid Shippen

“GIRL” – Maren Morris
Producer: Greg Kurstin
Mix Engineer: Greg Kurstin

“God’s Country” – Blake Shelton
Producer: Scott Hendricks
Mix Engineer: Justin Niebank

“Millionaire” – Chris Stapleton
Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
Mix Engineer: Vance Powell

“Speechless” – Dan + Shay
Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks
Mix Engineer: Jeff Juliano

Award goes to Artist and Producers

“Center Point Road” – Thomas Rhett
Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Julian Bunetta, The Stereotypes, Cleve Wilson

“Cry Pretty” – Carrie Underwood
Producers: David Garcia, Jim Jonsin, Carrie Underwood

“Dan + Shay” – Dan + Shay
Producers: Dan Smyers, Scott Hendricks

“Desperate Man”– Eric Church
Producers: Jay Joyce, Arturo Buenahora, Jr.

“GIRL” – Maren Morris
Producers: busbee, Maren Morris, Greg Kurstin

Award goes to Songwriter

“Beautiful Crazy”
Songwriters: Luke Combs, Wyatt B. Durrette III, Robert Williford

Songwriters: Maren Morris, Sarah Aarons, Greg Kurstin

“God’s Country”
Songwriters: Devin Dawson, Jordan Schmidt, Michael Hardy

Songwriters: Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves

Songwriters: Dan Smyers, Nicolle Galyon, Jordan Reynolds


Kelsea Ballerini

Miranda Lambert

Maren Morris

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood


Dierks Bentley

Luke Combs

Thomas Rhett

Chris Stapleton

Keith Urban


Lady Antebellum

Little Big Town


Old Dominion

Zac Brown Band


Brooks & Dunn

Brothers Osborne

Dan + Shay

Florida Georgia Line

Maddie & Tae

Award goes to Artists and Producer(s)

“All My Favorite People” – Maren Morris (feat. Brothers Osborne)
Producers: Maren Morris, busbee

“Brand New Man” – Brooks & Dunn (with Luke Combs)
Producer: Dann Huff

“Dive Bar” – Garth Brooks & Blake Shelton
Producer: Garth Brooks

“Old Town Road (Remix)” – Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
Producers: YoungKio, Michael Trent Reznor, Atticus Matthew Ross

“What Happens In A Small Town” – Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell
Producer: Dann Huff


Jenee Fleenor, Fiddle

Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar

Mac McAnally, Guitar

Ilya Toshinsky, Banjo/Guitar

Derek Wells, Guitar

Award goes to Artist(s) and Director

“Burning Man” – Dierks Bentley Feat. Brothers Osborne
Director: Wes Edwards

“GIRL” – Maren Morris
Director: Dave Meyers

“God’s Country” – Blake Shelton
Director: Sophie Muller

“Rainbow” – Kacey Musgraves
Director: Hannah Lux Davis

“Some Of It” – Eric Church
Director: Reid Long


Cody Johnson

Ashley McBryde


Carly Pearce

Morgan Wallen


More TV

  • Members of the music community lost

    Grammys' 'In Memoriam' Omits 'Dead' Lyricist, Prodigy Frontman; Misspells Names

    The Recording Academy’s “In Memoriam” section, which traditionally runs towards the end of the Grammy Awards ceremony and honors those in the music industry who died in the previous year, is bound to displease many — as the internet’s ire proves annually. Omissions are to blame: some due to time constraints, others to very recent [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Innovative Artists Signs Deal With Writers Guild of America

    Innovative Artists has signed a deal with the Writers Guild of America that allows the agency to represent WGA members following a nine-month standoff. The agency issued an announcement Monday through Owner and President Scott Harris, along with the Innovative Artists’ Executive Committee. “We are proud to support our literary agents and the talented writers they [...]

  • Carmi Zlotnik

    Starz's Carmi Zlotnik Exits as President of Programming to 'Pursue New Creative Endeavors'

    Carmi Zlotnik, Starz’s president of programming, is exiting the company after a decade with the premium cabler to “pursue new creative endeavors,” Variety has learned. Zlotnik has been with the company since 2010, overseeing the development and production of “Power,” “Outlander,” “American Gods,” “Vida,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “The White Queen,” “Black Sails,” “Magic City,” and [...]

  • 'Saved by the Bell' Sequel Series

    'Saved by the Bell' Sequel Series at Peacock Rounds Out Main Cast

    The upcoming continuation of “Saved by the Bell” at the NBCUniversal streamer Peacock has found the final members of its main cast. Haskiri Velazquez, Mitchell Hoog, Alycia Pascual-Pena, and Belmont Cameli will all star in the series. They join previously announced series lead Josie Totah as well as John Michael Higgins, who will play the [...]

  • Billie Eilish Grammy performance

    Grammy Awards Ratings Slip to New Demo Low

    The 2020 Grammy Awards fell off enough to hit a new key demo low in the Nielsen ratings. In the time zone adjusted fast nationals, the Sunday awards telecast on CBS drew a 5.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 18.7 million viewers. That is down a scant 3% in the key demo and 6% in [...]

  • Big Mouth Season 3

    Netflix Inks Overall Deal With 'Big Mouth' Animation Studio Titmouse

    Netflix is looking to up its adult animation game. The streamer has signed a multi-year production commitment overall deal with Titmouse studio, the animation house behind “Big Mouth.” Under the deal, Netflix will have a first look at shows that Titmouse develops. “When Netflix asked if we wanted to go steady, we were thrilled. When [...]

  • Aline Brosh McKenna Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

    Aline Brosh McKenna Sets Multi-Year Overall Deal at ABC Studios

    Aline Brosh McKenna has signed a three year overall deal with ABC Studios. Brosh McKenna was previously under an overall at CBS Television Studios, where she and Rachel Bloom co-created the Emmy-winning CW series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” on which she also served as showrunner in addition to directing the season finales of all four seasons. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content