IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!! Not Christmas, you jags. It’s Most Handsome Young Man time!
Harry Styles will always be in our hearts as the Most Handsome Young Man of 2015, but it is time for him to step down and join Joel McHale, Adam Scott, Tom Mison, and John Cho for a scotch in the Handsome Young Men Hall of Fame. Thanks for giving us that Another Man Photoshoot before you stepped down, Hazza. We are eternally grateful for the fuzzy sweaters, the COLLARS, and the outrageous suits. The summertime, butterflies all belong to your creation.
So who will carry the Most Handsome Young Mantle into 2017? As always, we’ve put a LOT of thought into our potential nominees (the things we DO for you guys, it’s so hard) and we feel that our chosen six represent the best of the best. We cackled with glee at the thought of putting your faves up against each other, so may the odds ever be in their Handsome favor. Remember, age in this poll is but a number. The Most Handsome Young Man should be Handsome on the outside AND the inside. He should fill your heart with glee and rage at the same time because HOW DARE HE exist on this planet. The Most Handsome Young Man represents YOU, dear readers. We can’t wait to see who you choose.
Voting will run until 5:00 PM EST on Friday, December 9th. You can vote once per hour. We heartily endorse social media campaigns for your favorites, especially when they come with photos and gifs. Vote early, vote often. This contest can turn on a dime (just ask 2014 Winner John Cho, who won on the very last day). Nobody is a sure thing, so you should never rest on your laurels. Good luck, gentlemen. You’re all so HANDSOME. –Kim
Sterling K. Brown
It happens EVERY. DAMN. WEEK. Just when I think Sterling K. Brown can’t knock me out any more on the tearjerker ensemble dramedy This Is Us, he goes and does it. As the adult version of Randall Pearson – adopted son of a white family, devoted husband and father, corporate perfectionist, and aspiring pianist – Sterling gives the kind of dexterous performance that’s rooted in a bone-deep understanding of his character and circumstances. Sterling K. Brown KNOWS Randall – inside and out – and so his work is unpretentious, unaffected, FUNNY, and so, so human.
Looking through his filmography, I see that I’ve seen Sterling in one-offs in some of the series that I keep up with. But I started really paying attention early this year when he played Christopher Darden in FX’s American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. In Darden’s goatee, wire-rimmed glasses, and department store ties, Sterling was one of the keys to that show’s success. And by “success,” I mean the avoidance of a sensationalist car crash. It could’ve gone that way; we all know it.
Instead, The People vs. O.J. Simpson was a snapshot of institutional incompetency and bias, as well as the frustration and heartbreak experienced by the people caught up in it. The most wonderful surprise of the show was the tender friendship and sizzling chemistry between Sterling as Darden and Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark. (WHAT HAPPENED THERE, YOU GUYS?) I…had no idea I shipped two lawyers arguing the Trial of the Century so much. (Besides F. Lee Bailey and Robert Shapiro, I mean.) But damn if this show didn’t perfectly capture the way professional respect and personal fondness can grow into something more urgent when the stakes are high and the hours are long. Plus, Chris was me, watching helplessly as the media reduced Marcia to a haircut and a custody hearing. My favorite scene is the one in which a (shirtless) Chris calls into a talk show polling listeners on whether Marcia is “bitch or babe.” He dials the phone with a fury in his eyes. “I VOTE BABE.” And then he hangs up.
Sterling won an Emmy for that role. And if there’s justice, he should be pulling down another nomination for This Is Us. Nothing makes me happier than a working actor finally getting that defining part. And Sterling K. Brown got TWO in one year. Every episode, I feel that This Is Us is teetering on the edge of schmaltz. But its actors pull it back from that edge. Sterling does his thing, and it never feels like he’s trying to coax a specific reaction out of you. I appreciate that – that he trusts the audience to come along with him. And for that reason, Randall is my favorite character in the Pearson clan: a softhearted, stand-up guy who demands the best of the people around him but ultimately holds himself to the highest standard. Randall never half-asses anything: not cataloging his grievances, not Thanksgiving, and not hotel shower sex with his beautiful wife followed by room service burgers in bed. It’s very hot.
Sterling K. Brown is the latest addition to our nominees, so enamored are we with what he’s done this year. Talented, deserving, and above all: handsome. –Sage
Definitive proof that not all straight white cis boys are here to ruin our lives: Chris Evans.
Let’s talk about Captain America: Civil War. Firstly, that press tour was a damn gift. So many attractive and funny people giving each other shit. So many times Chris laughed when Sebastian Stan talked about the lube he needed to get himself into Bucky’s metal arm. Also, Chris seemed perturbed that certain Stucky scenes were cut from the film, so it’s a reasonable conclusion that he ships it. Anyway, Steve has the potential to be the most boring character on the team. But Chris has grown with the role, and there’s an undercurrent of anger that makes the golden boy fascinating to watch. The anger, and also this bicep-popping stunt.
Chris Evans has made a habit of giving back, visiting hospitals in his Cap uniform and sharing campaigns on social media. But he’s also contributed to the world in an even more personal way, by being forthcoming with his struggles with social anxiety. Anxiety and mental illness in general can be isolating. But if Captain America dreads red carpets and speaking in public, then none of us are really alone.
Man….my dog's energy level in the morning puts me in the greatest mood. He's a beautiful, fresh, new soul so happy to be alive.
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) September 14, 2016
Blue eyes, a body built to smash, a gigantic heart, a generous spirit, and a good dog – does it get more handsome than that? I doubt it. –Sage
The thing that is most outrageous to me about the first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the suggestion that Greg Serrano would be the one that Rebecca would SETTLE for. Excuse me? In what universe is this guy second place? NOT OURS. Greg Serrano is the type of guy I would shove other women aside for in order to get to him. I would FIGHT for him. I would catch a grenade for him. And that is all due to one Santino Fontana.
I said it back when we wrote about him for The Feelies, but the entire REASON Greg Serrano works as a character is because of Santino Fontana. It’s the puppy eyes. It’s the little dimples he gets when he smiles. It’s the smart-ass smirk. It’s the fact that he looks SO DAMN CUDDLY AND WARM all the time. (You KNOW he’s a human furnace. That’s a scientific fact.) Greg is all sarcasm and self-deprecation but it works because Santino does it with a twinkle in his eyes. He plays Greg like he knows that he’s in on the joke. He makes it easy to see right through Greg’s hard candy shell and makes it obvious that he’s actually just a mushball who wants to love and to be in love. I completely understand the ultimate arc that Greg had on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but that doesn’t mean I have to like it because now I don’t get to see Santino’s face on my television every week. Greg needed to spread his wings and pursue his dreams beyond West Covina; keeping him there once he had the opportunity to leave would have been a betrayal to the story and the character. But I’m never going to give up the hope that once Greg finds himself that he’ll come back for Rebecca and he’ll be the person that he needs to be, for both of them. LET ME HAVE THIS.
You know we love our multi-talented gentlemen here at Head Over Feels and Santino is the definition of multi-talent. He sings! He dances! He moves seamlessly between plays and musicals! I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Santino’s theatre work on many occasions and this is a guy who was BORN to be on stage. I feel like Santino is the kind of Musical Theatre Leading Man that’s a dying breed. He’s the definition of OLD SCHOOL. He’s not overly poppy and he is just EARNEST in a way that’s so pure. His voice is designed to sing the classics and he has a thorough understanding of musical phrasing and how to tell stories through song. (It’s WHY he was so suited to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and why Greg’s numbers were always standouts.) Take a look at him in action and you’ll understand why we bought tickets to see him sing Lerner and Lowe at the 92nd Street Y as soon as they went on sale even though we are broke AF. I hope you’re ready for a Head Over Feels sandwich, Santino, because we’re coming for a snuggle.
If he is not cast as Matt Flamhaff in the rumored musical of 13 Going On 30, then I know NOTHING about how casting works. Is there another Musical Theatre Actor out there who can capture the essence of Mark Ruffalo and play the sweetest guy Jenna Rink has ever known? The answer is no, there is not. Make this happen, theatre gods. Santino didn’t give up his sweet TV gig for nothing, after all.
Much like fellow nominee Sterling K. Brown, we can’t even be mad that Santino is off the market. How can we be mad when Cinderella’s Prince Topher ACTUALLY married Cinderella? How can we be mad when his vows to his future wife included promises like always protecting her except when she doesn’t want to be protected (WOKE) and to never stop making her laugh and to never stop promising her anything? How can we be mad when his bride says that he shows the characters he plays the same love and respect that he shows his friends and family? HOW CAN WE BE MAD AT THAT? We can’t be. All we can do is show some mad respect for the woman who managed to win the heart of this ACTUAL Prince. –Kim
The biggest crime of this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse was NOT the shitty script, nor was it the fact that everyone other than James McAvoy phoned in their performances. Nay, the biggest crime was casting Oscar Isaac and then rendering his handsome mug unrecognizable with make-up and CGI. THAT, my friends, is a crime against handsomeness and I’m suing.
If I were forced to describe Oscar Isaac in two words it would be classic and soulful. He’s like an old Hollywood Matinee Idol who could easily fit in with the likes of Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and Humphrey Bogart; it’s the thick brows, the strong nose and jaw, the pouty lips, and those warm chocolate eyes that pierce your very soul. But at the same time, he’s refreshingly modern with his unruly curls and mischievous smirk that is most certainly TROUBLE. Oscar Isaac is the type of guy who would put on a classic three-piece suit and take you to an art deco jazz club where he would discuss how to defy gender stereotypes with you over some 40-year-old scotch. Because those are the kinds of issues that keep him up at night.
To make things worse, Oscar is talented as fuck. His work is widely varied, from taking on Romeo for Shakespeare in the Park (I DIE) to indie features like Drive and his breakthrough in Inside Llewyn Davis (Musician Oscar = EVERYTHING) to stealing our hearts as Poe Dameron in Star Wars. He took home a Golden Globe this year for his work in Show Me a Hero and was clearly the most popular boy at THAT party. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT HE IS SPECIAL. Oscar imbues ALL of his characters with a sense of honesty and truth, but I want to specifically talk about one Poe Dameron. It would be totally easy to play a one-dimensional character in the Star Wars universe…they are all VERY specific archetypes, after all. Poe is the Golden Boy, the hotshot pilot of the galaxy, and one of General Leia Organa’s most trusted allies. A lesser actor would play him with cockiness and swagger and leave it at that. Not Oscar Isaac. In Oscar’s hands, Poe IS swagger and confidence but there is also boyish joy, sensitivity, and a desire to see the best in everyone. You know Poe spends his days fighting the Empire in his X-Wing and then his nights writing about it in his journal.
“Dear Diary…today a Stormtrooper saved me. In all the ways that a person can be saved. But really, I like to think we saved each other.” Listen. I will NEVER forget seeing The Force Awakens for the first time and seeing the INSTANT connection between Poe and Finn (Sage and I almost broke each other’s hands over it). Poe has no reason to trust this rogue Stormtrooper, but he DOES. He sees the humanity in him that the Empire has tried to stamp out and he recognizes a kindred spirit that longs to be a part of something BIGGER. The Finn/Poe dynamic is VERY “I don’t know why, I only know who.” It’s a connection and a chemistry they can’t explain and what’s AMAZING to me is that the film and the actors don’t shy away from the romantic connotations or try to put labels on it. Although, Oscar, I call bullshit on the “you have to watch it a few times to see” comments. I saw it INSTANTLY.
In short, Oscar Isaac is too pure and good and lovely for this world. He’s the definition of a cinnamon roll. He’s the Most Handsome Young Man nominee that none of us deserve, but he’s the one we NEED. –Kim
Where the fuck am I even supposed to start??
“Your ass will never be the same,” an intoxicated Lin slurred when narrating the life of Alexander Hamilton in his recent episode of Drunk History. And ain’t it the truth? Except I’M talking about the composer, not the subject. I’ll never forget standing at the very back of the midtown Hilton ballroom in 2008 and watching slackjawed while Lin and the Broadway company of In The Heights performed the show’s opening number at my employer’s gala. And I’ll never forget how THAT brought back the memory of a coworker telling me a couple of years previous that he’d heard demos from the score of a Latin/hip-hop/showtunes fusion musical about Washington Heights and had been floored by it. “This kid is a genius,” he’d said. And I feel like people in the business don’t tend to apply that term easily.
In The Heights was by no means an underground production. Lin-Manuel Miranda won his first Best Score Tony for it at the ripe old age of 28. The show won Best Musical too. (I cried at both speeches.) But in 2015-2016, being #HeightsTrash meant being on the ground floor of a little international game-changer called Hamilton. And thank god for that. I saw Hamilton the first time for $50. As an unreformed junior high American history nerd and Usnavi fangirl, I was ON TOP OF THAT SHIT. I’d spent the last few years getting my Lin fix solely through his enthusiastic live tweets of all the Twilight sequels, and it was time not just to see him on stage again but to hear what that very handsome brain had created.
I could keep talking about the honors and milestones Lin achieved this year (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, more Tonys, hosting Saturday Night Live, taking the whole company to the White House, getting cast in Disney’s Mary Poppins sequel, scoring a Disney animated musical, continuing to be a husband and a dad, etc), but this competition isn’t entirely about accolades. It’s about the love-struck way Lin gazed at Patti LuPone when she performed at Ham4Ham; the poignant sonnet about pride and love he read when he accepted just one of the many awards he was given the day of the Pulse nightclub massacre; his cuddly friendships with his co-stars and best friends; his advocacy for a prosperous future for Puerto Rico; his collection of geeky theater t-shirts; and his habit of calling himself “Old Man Miranda” whenever he doesn’t understand a meme. When the Angelica sings about lookin’ for a mind at work, she’s talking about guys like this. Guys who aren’t too busy taking over the world to send out a daily motivation wake-up tweet that somehow sounds personal to every one of the millions who read it.
Also: HE CUTE. In addition to his creativity and general loveliness, we love Lin’s deep, brown eyes, knowing grin, and sharp preppy style. The Alexander ponytail was a look, but my timeline was fixing to DIE after he cut it off. He’s that bright boy you had a crush in when you were both in the play (“WE’RE IN THE PLAY.”), just significantly better in every possible way.
It’s only a matter of time until Lin EGOTs, but will he HEGOT? Only you can vote him the Most Handsome Young Man of 2016. (Bonus: he’ll get the reference!) –Sage
Listen, I didn’t even realize I was a Karl Urban stan until I was sitting in a room with him on a fateful June afternoon at Awesome Con. Before long time fans come at me for jumping on the bandwagon…I KNOW. I AM AN IDIOT. In my mild defense, he’s virtually unrecognizable with that long blond hair as Eomer in Lord of the Rings, I never watched Xena, and there are a whole lot of pretty people in Star Trek so they all blend together. BUT I KNOW NOW, OKAY? It took exactly 60 seconds of me sitting in a room with this giant hunk of New Zealand Man Meat before I turned to Sage and said “Okay but he HAS to be considered for Most Handsome Young Man”.
Karl Urban is a MAN. Like you could bottle up all the testosterone he emanates and sell it as the world’s most powerful steroid kind of man. He’s tall, dark, and BURLY. (Us pondering a photo op with him: Do you think he could pick both of us up? Yes, of course he could, look at him.) He’s basically the living embodiment of the Brawny Paper Towel Man. He’s the kind of guy that you would want to face a Zombie Apocalypse with because he would rip the zombies apart with his bare hands and then toss you over his shoulder and take you back to his cave. But he would ask for your consent before manhandling you because consent is sexy, even in the midst of a Zombie apocalypse. (For reference on this apocalypse fantasy, please refer to his new look for Thor: Ragnarok because HOT DAMN that is some dystopian realness.)
But Karl is more than just raw and potent masculinity. He’s also a massive dork who will spend hours with his equally dorky and handsome cast mates making the PERFECT dubsmash. The Star Trek cast gave the Civil War cast a run for their money for the most painfully endearing cast award during their press tour this summer. At Awesome Con, Karl told us a story of how Chris Pine and 2014 Most Handsome Young Man John Cho kept sending who they THOUGHT was him endless dubsmashes when they were ACTUALLY texting a phone he had used just for the production of the movie. So all the dubsmashes were being sent to an unknown but VERY LUCKY PA who then had to sign an additional NDA because the dubsmashes were in costume. Dorks. ALL OF YOU ARE HANDSOME DORKS. At least we all know which candidate John Cho is endorsing this year. Clearly, he wants to keep the title within the family.
“High five for being Handsome, bro.”
Lastly, Karl’s got a wicked sense of humor and he never misses the opportunity to use innuendo. When we weren’t drooling over him at his panel, we were laughing our asses off. It’s the perfect Handsome man combo. WITH A BONUS SEXY ACCENT. – Kim
And those are your nominees! So now we turn to you…WHO is the Most Handsome Young Man?