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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 11/16/2010

People's Sexiest Man Alive: Five guys who could win it

By Jen Chaney

Could Ryan Reynolds be 2010's sexiest man alive? (AP)

As experts in sexy already well know, tomorrow marks a major, major occasion. As in, the occasion when People magazine announces the name of the Sexiest Man Alive, an event so momentous that it really should be a national holiday by now. Although, technically, Presidents' Day does already serve the same function. You know, minus the alive part.

This year's "honor" is a bigger deal than usual because 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the sexiest man alive issue, a tradition born back in 1985 when People chose its first example of masculine hotness, Mel Gibson. (Um, oops?)

Certainly there are plenty of good-looking guys in Hollywood who would be worthy of the award. But we've narrowed the contenders down to a few, based on People's track record and the four clues that have been shared so far.

For the record, those purposely vague clues -- which have been disseminated via Twitter via designated sexiest man alive tweeters like Kendra Wilkinson -- are:

1.He looks sexy scruffy and cleaned up.

2. He has spent time on the small screen and the big screen.

3. You've probably seen him on a motorcycle.

And No. 4, shared courtesy of Brooke Burke:

Hi @peoplemag followers! The 4th #SexiestManAlive clue is "He has at least one sibling." Good luck with your guesses!less than a minute ago via web

So who could it be?

Ryan Reynolds

Why It Could Be Him: He meets all of the criteria above. And he's got "The Green Lantern" coming out next year, a movie for which cultivating an image as a hot, muscly superhero is paramount. The fact that the trailer for said action movie is supposed to premiere in front of this weekend's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" just adds to the sense of spot-on timing.

Why It Might Not Be Him: His wife, Scarlett Johansson, was just named GQ's Babe of the Year, which might make the Reynolds choice a bit too matchy-matchy. Also, while Reynolds is certainly likable and sexy, he may not make the most buzziest choice.

George Clooney

Why It Could Be Him: Again, meets all of the criteria above. And if he is named, he'd be the only Sexiest Man Alive in history to have won the title (yes, won the title sounded silly even while I was typing it) three times. Clooney probably doesn't care about making that particular type of history, but for People, it would be a nice selling point for that whole 25th anniversary thing.

Why It Might Not Be Him: He's won twice before. Choosing him again might seem a bit played-out.

Jon Hamm

Why It Could Be Him: USA Today is convinced Hamm has got this thing sewn up. And there's no denying that his sexiness quotient only continues to go up with every "SNL" hosting gig or cute "Conan" appearance.

Why It Might Not Be Him: As best as I can tell, Hamm has a couple of half siblings. So I am not sure if that counts him out given the fourth clue, assuming these clues are even valid.

Bradley Cooper

Why It Could Be Him: He meets the pre-established criteria. (He's been seen on a motorcycle before, right? Or was that only in my dreams?) And like his buddy Reynolds, he's got a big movie on the horizon in 2011 in "The Hangover 2" ... and that comedy sequel is just hurting for publicity.

Why It Might Not Be Him: Perhaps he's not considered a big enough star to be deemed the 25th Sexiest Man Alive. I don't know, I don't have a problem with it. And that opinion is in no way influenced by the fact that I once got destroyed by Cooper in a game of movie trivia. (He blinded me with sexiness, I tell you!)

James Franco

Why It Could Be Him: Yet again, satisfies all four clues. And he's got Oscar buzz behind him thanks to his compelling performance in "127 Hours." In a way -- given his acting chops and his tendency to embrace the unconventional -- he's becoming the next Johnny Depp. To pass the torch from Depp, 2009's Sexiest Man Alive, to Franco might be a nice touch. Also, he's the last guy to show up in this video montage, and appears to be keeping a secret. Hmmm....

Why It Might Not Be Him: Maybe his Renaissance Man status (and past experience with magazine cross-dressing) will be too unconventional for People? Doubtful given that they've dubbed Depp Sexiest Man Alive two times already.

Of course, there are plenty of other possibilities I pondered but that didn't synch up quite as nicely with the four clues: Idris Elba (they really need to give this to someone of color besides Denzel Washington), Robert Pattinson (it would sell magazines), Ian Somerhalder (he's also a vampire ... and has the added credential of being a sexy beast).

Who do you think will most likely add the title Sexiest Man Alive 2010 to his resume? Predict in our poll or by posting a comment. The fate of sexiness as we know it depends on it.

By Jen Chaney  | November 16, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  | Tags:  Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, James Franco, Jon Hamm, Ryan Reynolds  
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Ryan Reynolds-- ewww... I don't see the appeal. George Clooney FTW.

Posted by: Guest1234 | November 16, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Vote for Dorkus.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | November 16, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Could it be Hugh Jackman? He was on TV (briefly) and rides a motorcycle as Wolverine.

Posted by: starbuck13 | November 16, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Brad Pitt again? Mmmmm, Jeffrey Dean Anderson would be nice!

Posted by: dors | November 16, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Randy Quaid. (This assumes that the 3rd clue is "He's batsh*t crazy. No, REALLY. OUT OF HIS MIND.")

Posted by: byoolin1 | November 16, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Franco is too far out of the mainstream, his quirk quotient is higher than Depp's. Clooney needs to get some sort of emeritus title and not be in the running anymore. Cooper has the odd four-month marriage in his past and probably doesn't have enough A-list cachet yet. It's between Reynolds and Hamm, with Hamm having an edge because RR has been on the covers of GQ and EW in the last few months.

Posted by: madams712 | November 16, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Sheen. TV and movies, sibling, don't know about the motorcyle and don't care about the scruffy / clean. Ha ha ha ha. Charlie Sheen. I make myself laugh.

Patrick Dempsey? Who can forget his stellar movie turn in "Loverboy" all those years ago? (Yes, and "Enchanted" and the later stuff too.) Does he have a sibling and does he ride? A bike, I mean.

I hate myself for even commenting on this, you realize, but I love a good (OK, decent) mystery. As long as it's no one on "Glee."

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | November 16, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: duhneese | November 16, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

You know, I initially thought Jon Hamm couldn't win because he's not a big enough star yet and it's the 25th so a Big Name has to win, but Matthew McConaughy won the 20th year and he's no great shakes.

Posted by: duhneese | November 16, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Where is Alex O'Loughlin...? I guess you can only be sexiest man alive if you're completely overexposed...well we'll just keep our down-to-earth Aussie gem here in the cool shade of Hawaii as long as we can along with his other sexy co-stars Scott Caan and Daniel Dae Kim...these guys don't need a magazine cover, it might spontaneously combust anyway...

Posted by: sheilaHI | November 16, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Nathan Fillion? Simon Baker?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | November 16, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I kind of hope it's Zach Galifianakis, just because his last name is fun to say.

Agree that Clooney needs to be excluded from the running; at this point, he just seems to be deeply embarrassed by the whole thing (and honestly, I can't blame him).

You know who would rock my socks? Chris Evans. Oooh, or Chris Pine- both younger talented guys who could use the publicity boost, and also happen to be made from molten awesome.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | November 16, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Nathan Fillion, another better choice!

Posted by: sheilaHI | November 17, 2010 5:24 AM | Report abuse

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