'Homecoming' Puts Beyoncé Back in the Grammy Race

Bey has amassed 23 Grammys but has yet to win for best music film. That may change.

Beyoncé is already the woman with the most Grammy nominations in history -- a whopping 66 -- and she may well add to that total when the nominations for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards are announced later this year.

Her new Homecoming: The Live Album, surprise-released early Wednesday (April 17), will be eligible for both album of the year and in whatever genre album category a screening committee decides it fits best. (Beyoncé's last three albums have competed for best urban contemporary album.) The album will not be eligible for best compilation soundtrack for visual media, since albums from live concert films are specifically excluded from that category.  

Beyoncé's accompanying film, Homecoming: A Film, which began airing Wednesday on Netflix, will be eligible for best music film, provided that it remains available on Netflix until the end of the final voting period.

The album and film were recorded last year at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where Beyoncé became the first African-American woman to headline the high-profile music festival. Her performance was considered so captivating, the event was dubbed "Beychella." The film features primarily concert footage but also includes behind-the-scenes footage and insight from Beyoncé on her creative process in putting together the career-defining appearance.

Beyoncé will also be eligible in various performance and other categories. The 62nd annual Grammy Awards are set for Jan. 26 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Beyoncé has won 23 Grammys, which puts her in eighth place on the all-time winners list. Among female artists, she's second only to Alison Krauss, with 27. Among African-American artists, she's in third place, behind Quincy Jones, with 28, and Stevie Wonder, with 25.

But her only win in a Big Four category (album, record or song of the year and best new artist) is for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” which took the 2009 award for song of the year. Many thought she was shortchanged at the 59th annual Grammy Awards -- including Adele, to whom she lost in four categories. The British star, famously (and graciously), was among those who felt that Beyoncé's Lemonade should have taken album of the year over Adele's 25.

Lemonade was also nominated for best music film but lost to The Beatles: Eight Days a Week—The Touring Years, directed by Ron Howard. It was Beyoncé's third loss in that category. She was previously nominated for I Am…World Tour (2011) and Beyonce & Jay-Z: On the Run Tour (2014), a joint project with her husband.

Beyoncé directed Homecoming: A Film. If it wins best music film, it would be only the second winner in that category that was directed or co-directed by the artist. Alanis Morissette won the 1997 award for Jagged Little Pill, Live, which she co-directed with Steve Purcell.

Moreover, if Homecoming: A Film wins best music film, Beyoncé would be the first individual African-American female artist to win in that category since Janet Jackson took the 1989 award for Rhythm Nation20 Feet From Stardom, the 2014 winner, was credited to the four African-American women -- Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and Judith Hill -- who starred in the film.

Homecoming: The Live Album is vying to become the first live album to be nominated for album of the year since 1994, when two of the five nominees were live albums: Tony Bennett's MTV Unplugged and The Three Tenors in Concert 1994 by José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti with Zubin Mehta. Bennett's album emerged victorious.

Live music albums used to be frequent Grammy contenders for album of the year, just as they used to be more frequent visitors to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart. In addition to Bennett’s MTV Unplugged, three live albums have won in that marquee category: Judy Garland's Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961), George Harrison & Friends' The Concert for Bangladesh (1972) and Eric Clapton's Unplugged (1992).

Other live albums to have been nominated for album of the year include Harry Belafonte's Live at Carnegie Hall (1959) and Belafonte Returns to Carnegie Hall (1960), Johnny Cash's At San Quentin (1969) and Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! (1976).

In the past 25 years, numerous live albums have won genre album awards. These include Kraftwerk's 3-D The Catalogue (best dance/electronic album, 2017), Lalah Hathaway's Lalah Hathaway Live (best R&B album, 2016). Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day (best rock album, 2013), Michael Bublé's Michael Bublé Meets Madison Square Garden (best traditional pop vocal album, 2009), Daft Punk's Alive 2007 (best dance/electronic album, 2008), Patti Page's Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert (best traditional pop vocal album, 1998) and Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York (best alternative music album, 1995).

Beyoncé has won best urban contemporary album twice in the past three years, for Lemonade (2016) and Everything Is Love (2018), which she and Jay-Z recorded as The Carters. Previously, Beyoncé won three Grammys in the discontinued best contemporary R&B album category, for her first three solo albums: Dangerously in Love (2003), B'Day (2006) and I Am…Sasha Fierce (2009).

Beyoncé is in 10th place on the all-time nominations list. The top three are Quincy Jones (80), Paul McCartney (78) and Jay-Z (77).