Kim: After one of our most tightly contested races in years, where our top two were never separated by more than three votes all week, we have our winner. In the last hour of our poll. Keanu Reeves surged over Hot Priest Andrew Scott, emerging as YOUR Most Handsome Young Man of 2019 by a margin of nine votes. In Keanu’s own words, WHOA! To celebrate his victory, read on for a conversation on Keanu’s enduring appeal, the Keanusance, and why he’s worthy of being crowned Handsome Young Man 2019.
Sage: I’ve had a crush on Keanu Reeves since I was 11 years old. Some girl in my fifth grade class thought that Jean-Claude Van Damme was cuter (Because of the high kicks maybe?), so I ran a poll in the back of my planner wherein I asked the rest of the girls to decide between the two of them. Keanu: 11, Jean-Claude: 1. All he does is win, amirite?
Kim: Truly, I think anyone who came of age in the 90s was a little bit in love with Keanu Reeves. I think it’s because there was a Keanu for everyone, from the lovable doofus of Bill and Ted to the oily villain of Much Ado About Nothing (Literally. Kenneth Branagh knew his audience and his audience wanted hot, half-naked Keanu) to the vinyl clad hero of The Matrix trilogy. But for 15/16 year old me, there were two Keanu performances that were definitive: 1995’s lush post WWII romance A Walk in the Clouds and, of course, 1994’s Speed aka one of the most perfect action movies of all time. Both movies hold up incredibly well 25 years later. I should know, I’ve watched them both in preparation for this post. His biceps in that simple white tee in Speed, all muscly but not overwhelmingly so at the same time? How Jack was stoic and a rule-breaker all at the same time? Speed was formative for me in terms of what I found hot.
Sage: Kim, I can’t believe you neglected to mention the homoerotic surfer dude heist classic Point Break. But yes, I vividly remember the first time I saw A Walk in the Clouds. Keanu as a gentle veteran/chocolate salesman who gets caught up in a Fake Relationship AU? I’d let him propose to me with a tin foil ring any time.
Kim: So we’ve established that Keanu Reeves has always had BIG Most Handsome Young Man energy, but when Sage and I sit down every year to discuss who is going to be nominated for Most Handsome Young Man, we never throw in a nominee for just nostalgia’s sake. (If we did, David Duchovny would be nominated every year.) Being nominated for Most Handsome Young Man is about so much more than looks though. All of our nominees must be having a MOMENT, there must be some sort of collective sense of adoration that makes us go “YES! He is worthy.”
Well, Keanu Reeves is certainly having that moment in 2019. I touched on the Keanusance in our nominee post and it’s worth repeating. It’s not that Keanu went away, because one look at his Wikipedia page shows that he’s been working consistently since the 90s, be it in front of or behind the camera. But 2019 was a bit of a perfect storm, where several high profile projects pushed him back into the spotlight, making everyone remember just how fucking much they loved him. He’s in two of the top ten highest grossing films of the year between John Wick: Chapter Three (coming in at #8) and his delightful voice work in Toy Story 4, which takes the #3 spot. But for us, it was his delightful extended cameo in Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe that made us both realize that it was Keanu’s turn to make a play for your votes.
Sage: The filmmakers behind Toy Story 4 have spoken in detail about how much fun Keanu had playing his Canadian stuntman character Duke Kaboom and how that joy, in turn, impacted everyone around him. But that’s just the kind of guy your Most Handsome Young Man is. He brings zero bullshit to the table with him, just his love of movies and performing. A lesser man couldn’t have seduced the entire internet by gleefully playing a shitty and narcissistic version of himself. His Always Be My Maybe entrance alone was enough to inspire full-blown stan accounts.
As he tortured Randall Park’s Marcus (and inspired the smash hit “I Punched Keanu Reeves“) with his bougie food opinions and relentless psychobabble, Keanu showed the kind of silly self-awareness that many actors leave behind around their first multimillion dollar paycheck.
Kim: Truly, I believe that it’s Keanu’s joie de vivre that pushed him across the finish line when it came to Most Handsome Young Man this year. In a world where turning on the news equates to checking what kind of trash fire is ablaze on any particular day, Keanu Reeves is a breath of fresh air. He’s always been a bit kooky, this is not new information, one only needs to watch old interviews from the 90s to see that. But in 2019, I think it’s the way that Keanu has embraced his quirks that makes him so damn appealing. As Sage said, there appears to be zero bullshit about him. There’s a sense of him being completely bemused by all the sudden adoration but delighted by and grateful for it all at the same time. It’s like he’s keenly aware that he’s having a special moment, a moment that he knows could be fleeting, so he’s just leaning into it. He’s enjoying this moment in the sun for what it is and not basing his worth on it. And that, my friends, is the most Handsome thing of all. Internet boyfriends come and go, but this kind of handsome is eternal.
Sage: This year also marked a full-circle moment for our Keanu, as he returned to film a new Bill & Ted, which seems to be a labor of love for all involved and harkens back to a time when his contributions to the industry weren’t universally appreciated. See, both of us are old enough to remember when our Most Handsome Young Man was the subject of some ridicule: he was “wooden,” he was a himbo, he was the shrugging spirit of Gen X personified…These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to say a bad word about him. Because that, my friends, is what happens when you rise above the haters. You outlast them every time. And you age better too.
So, rule well, Keanu! Your subjects have voted you very handsome indeed.
Featured Image Source: GQ