Hello, dear readers! We hope you’re satiated physically and emotionally from your Thanksgiving feast. (Which reminds me: donate to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe!) 2017 has been another year of non-stop tire fires — capped off with People crowning a good ‘ol boy with a bigoted Twitter past their “Sexiest Man Alive” — but there’s still plenty to be thankful for and a lot of handsome to appreciate.
One of our main joys in life is bringing you our annual Most Handsome Young Man poll. We start talking about candidates immediately after the previous year’s vote, sometimes before. We love watching you agonize over your votes, mount your grassroots campaigns, and celebrate your victories. And we’ve got another stacked field for you to choose from this year. Maybe it can help take your mind off of the deterioration of our democracy for a while.
Your votes will decide which one of these handsome young gentlemen joins Joel McHale, Adam Scott, Tom Mison, John Cho, Harry Styles, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in the fraternity of winners. So yeah, we want to give you an escape this week. (Polls close Friday!) But we also want you to consider your choice very carefully. It’s an honor just be nominated, but one of these guys is going to own our (and your) asses for a year. Happy voting. –Sage
Mahershala Ali has had a YEAR, y’all. He took home the Oscar, SAG, and Critic’s choice award for his brilliant performance in Moonlight (someone explain to me how he didn’t get the Globe and BAFTA too because honestly I don’t get it because Nocturnal Animals was garbage) PLUS he took home another SAG as a member of the Hidden Figures ensemble. (Speaking of that performance, our entire audience swooned over him at our screening. We knew we’d be nominating him as soon as he slow danced with Taraji and apologized for underestimating her.) Well, I hope that he has enough room in his Awards Cabinet for his custom-made Most Handsome Young Man Nominee plaque that we will TOTALLY hand-deliver, so hit us up, Mahershala. (That goes for any of you, gentlemen.)
Imma objectify Mahershala in a minute, but to me, what makes this gorgeous man even MORE gorgeous is his mind and generous spirit. Mahershala was the picture of elegance and grace during awards season, always impeccably dressed (that white dinner jacket for the SAGs though) and ALWAYS delivering one hell of a thoughtful and eloquent acceptance speech. Just check out his remarks from his SAG win:
“I think what I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when you persecute people. They fold into themselves, and what I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community. Taking the opportunity to uplift him and to tell him he mattered, he was okay, and accept him. And I hope that we do a better job of that.”
HOW CAN YOU NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM? Christ. He’s also probably the type who would go home after winning his award and read poetry to you by firelight while drinking a perfectly made Manhattan. Right? Right.
But enough about his mind. Any man who can pull off a primary yellow jacket like this is worthy of the Most Handsome Young Man crown.
I think Mahershala’s laugh and smile could solve the world’s energy crisis if we could figure out how to harness it. ALSO THAT GREY JACKET. God, this man can wear the hell out of a suit. Want more evidence?
Navy pinstripes. Red accents. THOSE ACCESSORIES. I love all those things but what makes this picture is his GLOW. That’s the thing with Mahershala…he just glows and projects warmth and pure soul in everything that he does. And that’s so very very very handsome. — Kim
Sterling K. Brown
Normally, we keep it to six nominees for Most Handsome Young Man, because we are nothing if not ruthless. But every time Sterling K. Brown has shown up on This Is Us in a v-neck jewel-toned tight sweater, I bemoaned the fact that we had nominated him last year and didn’t have space for him on this year’s ballot. Lucky for me (and all of you!) our patron Kortnea decided to cash in her donation perk and DEMANDED that we nominate Sterling in Most Handsome Young Man this year. I’ve never been more happy to break our strict six nominee rule. (You too can pick a nominee next year! Check out our Patreon for perks!)
I mean, we’ve made it pretty clear here at Head Over Feels how we feel about HOT DADS. And boy, is Randall Pearson one of them.
Seriously, Randall Pearson IS that guy who is always just nattily attired with his hat and his mixed patterns and his jewel toned sweaters and those glasses. He’s the guy who has no idea how hot he is and has no idea that everyone’s hot for him. He’s ALSO the kind of guy who comes off all goofy and sweet but is actually PACKING underneath all those conservative clothes.
God bless whatever creative director of this Hollywood Reporter photoshoot who was like “You know what? We should have Sterling and Justin jump in a swimming pool FULLY CLOTHED and THEN take the picture.” I hope Santa brings you everything you want this year, creative director.
Can we just talk about how Sterling and his wife Ryan Michelle Bathe are GOALS? Like I can’t even be mad about the fact that Sterling in unavailable because they look THAT GOOD together and love each other so much. That SUIT though. That’s quite possibly (all Harry Styles looks aside) one of the best suits worn this year. The fit, the color, the styling? Impeccable. And then Sterling had to go and add the aviators because he’s just that extra.
This is Sterling K. Brown dancing to “Pony,” god bless us everyone.
In case you needed any more evidence as to why Sterling deserves a second shot at the title, allow me to submit his Morning After shot with his Best Actor in a Drama Emmy. Someone who is good with photoshop needs to edit this to add the Most Handsome Young Man Trophy is all I am saying. — Kim
Niall has always been as clean and refreshing as a bar of Irish Spring, but he’s truly blossomed in the One Direction hiatus years. (Part of his charm is that he will correct anyone who calls it a “breakup.” No one loves One Direction more than Niall Horan. It’s one of his most attractive qualities.) He was the first member to release a solo single, but took his sweet time putting out his debut album. Flicker, which came out in October of this year, was more than worth the wait. It’s a cozy, deeply felt, yet accessible record, and its radio appeal has made Niall the somewhat surprisingly most bankable of the band’s breakouts.
But is it REALLY all that surprising that the world has embraced him? Niall is so, so easy to love. Aside from his ease on stage, he doesn’t carry any indicators that he knows how famous he is. It’s so simple to imagine running into him at a gig or down the pub, partly because his endearingly low-key Instagram stories feature a lot of just that. Niall is the hottest guy in your extended friend circle, but he doesn’t appear to notice.
The evolution of Nialler has been so satisfying to experience. In the 1D days (PART 1), he was a bleached blonde goof. As he was slowly writing his album and exploring his inner Irish troubadour, we watched that blond grow out, inch-by-inch, and his personal style solidify. The darker locks suit this phase, as do the dark jeans and the band t-shirts; the patterned tops and the array of hats. And don’t even get me started on the sunglasses, or that three-piece AMAs suit. His brother Harold has taught him well.
We’ve been planning to include Neil on this list of nominees for quite a while, but that inclination became an ultimatum when we saw him perform at New York’s Beacon Theater on Halloween night. It’s one thing to gawk at sweater selfies and watch the “Too Much To Ask” video on repeat on YouTube; it’s entirely another to watch Niall effortlessly command a room all by himself, playing every song from his debut album, from the quiet passion of “Flicker” to the come-on funk of “Slow Hands.” (The return of the pelvic thrusts, thank god.) There’s nothing quite like a guy with a guitar who knows what he’s doing, am I right?
And yet, there’s more: the accent; the hands; the full, confident voice; his intense, forever stanning of One Direction; the way he looks in glasses; and mostly, his sweet disposition and constant gratitude. All of it adds up to one very handsome Irishman. –Sage
Well, we couldn’t give him the Tony he deserved, but we CAN nominate him for Head Over Feels’ highest honor.
Andy Karl starred as weatherman Phil Connors in the Broadway musical adaptation of the Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day, and we can’t imagine anyone else in the role. Andy is on stage for 98% of the musical, running through the many emotions of the trapped playboy as he learns how to properly live his life and doing all manner of crazy stunts. The role was SO demanding that Andy tore his ACL three days before the end of previews… and he still finished that show AND opened the production. Handsome AND hardworking? Now THAT’S good weather.
Honestly, he’s perfect. Phil has to be sexy, funny, heartfelt, and pathetic, occasionally all at the same time. The actor in the part has to make you feel compassion for someone you get to know first as a self-centered prick. But Andy as Phil keeps the audience in the palm of his hand, so that you’re with him even as you’re judging him for giving into his worst impulses. Because really – would you behave so differently if there were no consequences? The transformation is so life-affirming in the end because you want so much for this guy to have a breakthrough. And though the show is brilliantly written and Andy is backed by excellent co-stars and a crack ensemble, Groundhog Day lives or dies on that lead performance.
And Andy Karl is SO INTERESTING as leading men go. His voice is like buttah, obviously, but he also has the ability to amp up a rough-around-the-edges quality, hence his success in the lead role of the otherwise underwhelming Rocky musical. He met his wife Orfeh (Broadway super couple over here) when they were both working at Saturday Night Fever and then played opposite her in Legally Blonde — the hot UPS guy to her Paulette. And here are his credentials for that role:
His Tony loss this year against the juggernaut that is Dear Evan Hansen was so disappointing because Groundhog Day was the perfect marriage of actor and material. Andy has so much ahead of him — this we know. But every night on that stage, he lived an entire life and invited the entire audience to fall completely in love with Phil Connors, even as he was at his worst. Nothing is as handsome as talent, drive, and empathy, and Andy Karl has all of that in spades. — Sage
Like much of the world, we discovered Diego Luna as a skinny hipster on a road trip with his best friend and a mysterious woman in Y Tu Mama Tambien. And what a handsome journey it’s been since then.
If the term “international moviestar” didn’t apply before, he certainly earned it with last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Cassian Andor was the Han Solo-esque scoundrel in prequel, just with a bigger body count. But his checkered past just made Cassian’s hero moments even hotter. The hair, the accent, and those brown eyes DID NOT HURT, nor did the chemistry with Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso. We’d barely known these freedom fighters before they were holding each other and waiting for death on a beach. Tell Padme and Anakin to step aside, because THIS is how angsty Lucasfilm romance should be done.
Don’t forget that Diego used his own casting as a platform to celebrate the diversity of this new Star Wars era. And he’s an activist in his own time, raising nearly $1.2 million in just a month for hurricane relief in his native Mexico and championing the work of rising artists.
He’s always been a babe, though, whether he was resurrecting Dirty Dancing with the offensively underrated Havana Nights (“Circle…circle…circle…that’s a square.”) or playing “the one who got away” in Katy Perry’s tragically romantic video. As if you hadn’t already been picturing him as your secretly soft and artistic rebel boyfriend, just try him in that leather jacket and pompadour. You’d carry those memories into old age too.
But perhaps the most handsome quality of Diego’s is his lifelong friendship with fellow hottie Gael Garcia Bernal. From showing up to award shows together to Gael recounting his kids’ reactions to seeing Diego in Star Wars to their CONSTANT REMINDERS that yes, they have made out, and it’s on FILM, this guy love is a gift. We just want to be invited to brunch, just once. Maybe a sleepover if that goes well.
So if you’re looking for a little romance and a lot of intensity in your Handsome Young Man, you might be tempted to vote for this guy, who can pull off a tailored suit, a fisherman’s sweater, and even an Empire uniform with gravitas. — Sage
Well, it’s not a Most Handsome Man contest without a Chris. And what a Chris this is.
Of the Chrises Evans, Pine, Hemsworth, and Pratt, I’ve always considered Chris Pine to be a bit of the Dark Horse. Not because he’s just all of a sudden handsome, because one only needs to watch the ungodly amount of sexual tension in Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (that movie is rated PG, folks. AND YET.) to know that Chris Pine has always been handsome. No, Chris Pine is the dark horse because he carries his handsomeness with such a quiet confidence that you forget about it until he shows up on screen and punches you in the face with it.
I honestly don’t know how I survived Chris Pine in Wonder Woman, you guys. Steve Trevor is the male lead that we never in a million years expected to get. Steve Trevor is the male lead that we DESERVE after sitting through decades of one-dimensional love interests with zero personality. Steve Trevor is too good for this world, as the end of this movie sadly showed. Sure, much of Steve’s heart and soul is already there on the page, but so much of why the character worked is down to Chris Pine’s performance. (Will I ever get over the fact that the boat scene was IMPROVISED? Ask me in fifty years. The answer will still be no.)
Steve is tough, he is headstrong, and he is so very very very masculine. But the thing that elevates him is how SECURE he is in his masculinity; his ego is not so fragile that it shatters the moment Diana shows everyone who is boss. In fact, he gladly cedes control to her because he can see that she’s a leader and he is not in the least bit threatened by it. It’s a turn on for him and that’s WHY I told Sage to set me on fire the moment he asked her to dance in the snow. Well. That and the fact that Chris Pine is so beautiful it’s like willfully looking into the sun.
As it tends to happen with most men, Chris Pine has only gotten better with age. Like his brother in handsomeness, Chris Evans, Pine tends to favor a beard between projects and JESUS his beard is a lot. The salt and pepper really does it for me. Add in those eye crinkles, the crystal blue eyes, that gorgeous head of hair, and the best eyebrows this side of Peter Capaldi and it’s just…it’s a lot to handle.
Also, look at the way he looks at Zach Quinto, y’all.
But he’s not just a pretty face and he’s not just an actor who brings our fantasies to life. No. One only needs to watch one of his interviews to know that Chris Pine is smart as a whip. He’s witty and charming and passionate and well-read. Oh, also he’s apparently a very good erotic writer? I CAN’T EVER UNLEARN THAT AND NOW YOU CAN’T EITHER.
I student-taught an erotica class at UC Berkeley in 2002 and Chris Pine was in it. He is a FANTASTIC writer and was never creepy even though we were all constantly discussing sex https://t.co/B0YXPATXeG
— Dana Koster (@ChairAdventures) November 12, 2017
That gorgeous AND knows how to write smut? Just give him the trophy already. Maybe he’ll share his AO3 username if he wins. Cause you KNOW he wrote some Spock/Kirk slash. — Kim
It’s not a Most Handsome Young Man Poll without at least one dashing British man. Dan Stevens, come on down!
I still mourn the fact that Dan lost a lot of weight and therefore lost his adorable lil double chin that he sported during his entire run on Downton Abbey as the dashing cousin Matthew Crawley. But holy shit guys…look at Dan now. I believe this is what youth culture calls a “glow up.” And what a glow up it is.
One thing that didn’t change in Dan’s makeover is the fact that his eyes are IMPOSSIBLY blue. They’s so blue they can’t be real, right? Trust me. I’ve seen them in person. They are that blue.
Yeah, so Dan Stevens is super pretty. But what earned him this slot was his performance as the titular Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Yes, the story is Belle’s but BATB 100% DOES NOT WORK unless you can fall in love with the Beast and see past the more problematic elements of the story. (Stockholm Syndrome really doesn’t even begin to cover it.) Dan’s Beast is so overwhelmingly HUMAN and the fact that it comes across underneath all the CGI is such a testament to the amount of heart he poured into the performance. His Beast is bitter and heartbreakingly insecure, sure, but he’s also incredibly witty, generous, gentle, and kind. And LBR, for the first time ever in BATB, I wasn’t disappointed when he turned into a human in the end because he turned into DAN STEVENS.
I didn’t even talk about his SINGING VOICE in that movie, but rest assured, it ended me.
These men and their blue pinstripe suits, I swear to GOD. They are all out to get me.
At the end of the day, what I appreciate the most about Dan Stevens is not just his face, but how he’s not willing to skate by on his looks alone. It would have been easy for Dan to stay on Downton until it went off the air, but he didn’t want to be pigeonholed into that kind of romantic leading man. Take one look at his post Downton resume, and you’ll find horror, you’ll find gritty Sci-Fi like his leading role on Legion, and you’ll find a Night at the Museum sequel, and you’ll find the period drama Marshall (co-starring fellow nominee Sterling K. Brown). Handsome AND versatile? That’s our kind of leading man. — Kim
So there you have it. Seven very Handsome Young Men. But who will reign supreme in 2017? That is up to you! Voting will close at 7 PM on Friday, December 1st. You can vote once an hour. Vote early, vote often!