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Happy 2022, dear readers! Let’s start the new year off handsomely, shall we?
First of all, we have to thank our outgoing Most Handsome Young Man, Keanu Reeves. He’s been a steadfast and handsome presence through the past two years as we navigated the pandemic-induced hiatus on this poll and fittingly, he got to close out his service with the release of The Matrix Resurrections, looking more handsome than he did when the original movie. He will now be inducted into the MHYM Hall of Fame, joining Joel McHale, Adam Scott, Tom Mison, John Cho, Harry Styles, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne.
And now to our new crop of Most Handsome Young Man nominees! Sage and I have the nomination process down to a science at this point. Of COURSE the nominee has to be thirst worthy, but it’s so much more than that. It’s all about TIMING. It’s about who is steering the conversation NOW, who is the most handsome at this particular moment, and what is going to make you guys the most mad when it comes to choosing just one. We’re proud of this year’s crop. Any one of them would wear the title handsomely.
A reminder of the basics, since we’ve been away for a while! Voting will be open until next Monday, January 17th at 5 PM EST. You can vote once every hour. We ENCOURAGE campaigning and rustling up fanbases. We’ve done the easy part in narrowing down the nominees. The hard part is up to you. Get those voting fingers ready and read up on the Most Handsome Young Man Class of 2022! — Kim
Decades out of high school, and we still have a crush on the sensitive theater kid. Andrew Garfield, it’s your turn to vie for the role of Most Handsome Young Man.
Andrew was a late addition to the shortlist, first making his case in the November release of tick…tick…BOOM!, for which we can only hope that another very important nomination is forthcoming. His take on our dear, departed Jonathan Larson is reflective and contagiously energetic, endearing and annoying — the portrait of the artist as a young man with enough ego to keep him pounding the keys and pounding the pavement. And really, is there any more MHYM-worthy moment than the one where you realize that boy can SANG?
And December brought us another unforgettable Andrew performance: the return of his ill-fated Peter Parker, whose life was initially cut short by “artistic differences” and the Sony hack. He brought SO MUCH HEART to Spider-Man: No Way Home as the Peter who had lost the most and who had had the least chances, and his redemption (meta and otherwise) was genuinely moving. I know our lives are being held hostage by an endless parade of references and crossovers, but if you didn’t shed a tear when the Amazing Spider-Man started the process of healing his own heart when he saved MJ, then you’re a stronger person than me.
Consider also that Andrew deserves an Oscar nod for yet another performance this year: Actor Who’s Definitely Not in Spider-Man: No Way Home. For months upon months, this man lied his ass off — and quite convincingly, I might add. All the more indication that he has the skills it takes to ruin your life, though you’d probably gladly let him.
On the other hand, it does appear that Andrew has the ability to tell the deepest truths, when it really counts. Just watch the speech he gave on grief after Stephen Colbert asked about the recent loss of his mother, a clip that went viral because it reminded us that there’s beauty in mourning, too.
So no, there’s no question that this is Andrew Garfield’s year. Will MHYM be one more accomplishment he adds to the pile? That’s for you to decide. — Sage
Anthony Ramos was nominated by our Patreon sponsor Margaret, and needless to say, we added him to the list with zero hesitation. Hamilton fans have known and loved this guy since 2015, but 2021 brought him his first (albeit belated) starring role in a major motion picture. Inheriting the role from his forever champion (and Most Handsome Young Man Emeritus) Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony led the feature film adaptation of In the Heights as Usnavi, a Washington Heights bodega owner who holds his community together while he dreams of going back home. And though LMM’s Usnavi was, well, a lovable dork, Anthony’s take on the character is way more sauve, and convincingly so. You can’t put a camera on that face and expect us to believe that he’s not considered one of the finest men on his block. Come on, now.
Anthony put his heart, soul, and hips into the Heights movie — ask me how many times I’ve watched the club scene alone — introducing an important and defiantly joyful musical to a much wider audience. And at the same time, he was furthering his own music career as a solo artist. His second studio album, Love and Lies, was released last June, and if you want to know what the vibe is like, just check out this steamy music video featuring his Heights co-star Melissa Barrera.
You can also always rely on Anthony to bring it on the red carpet. In an endless parade of black and grey suits, his looks stand out, and as menswear enthusiasts, we’re grateful for it. We’re still screaming about this head-to-toe leopard print ensemble, tbh.
To sum it all up, Anthony is the definition of a star on the rise, and one who’s not too hard on the eyes either. With your support, he could also be this year’s Most Handsome Young Man. — Sage
Not one to rest on his laurels after taking home the 2021 Feelie for Best Actor in a Drama, Ben Barnes is here to make a play for the title of Most Handsome Young Man. And why shouldn’t he? It was an incredibly handsome year for him and he deserves to be celebrated.
A sexual awakening for a whole generation of fangirls when he played a dreamy Prince Caspian in 2008, Bin Bons, as he’s lovingly dubbed by the internet, is like a fine wine. He’s only gotten better with age. Ben’s always been the best kind of internet boyfriend: an unproblematic dreamboat who stays in his lane and constantly works, carving out a space for himself in genre television with featured roles in Westworld and The Punisher. He respects and is respected by his peers. (It’s so telling that two of his former female co-stars have worked with him again on his music videos, I’m just saying.) He’s also keenly aware of what his fanbase says about him, which is rather refreshing. Ben rather infamously showed a Tumblr post to the producers of Shadow and Bone at his first casting meeting because what else needed to be said? The fans definitely got this one right.
We waxed poetic on the brilliance of Ben’s performance in our posts for the Feelies, so let’s leave all of that aside and talk about what really counts here. The Darkling is sexy on paper but Ben Barnes turns him into a living, breathing thirst trap with that voice and that hair and those dark, soulful eyes that have seen centuries and always seem to be full of tears. He’s got swagger for days, from the way he swishes that Cape of Sex to the way he kisses as if his life depended on it to his fervent belief in Alina’s power, even if he plans to use it for his own gain. We love a handsome villain, it’s our brand and we’re not sorry.
To make matters worse, it seems like Ben is a cupcake IRL. His social media game is strong, especially on Instagram. He’s constantly sharing fanart because no one loves being The Darkling more than him. His stories are constant attacks of him sitting and singing at his piano, giving us his take on everything from Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” to the Friends theme song. He shares his fucking poetry with us, for fuck’s sake. From anyone else, this level of earnestness would be cringe, but for SOME REASON it works on Ben because he believes everything he’s saying and you can’t help but believe him too.
As if his MHYM resume needed any more padding, Ben released an actual EP this year basically, according to him, because he was turning forty and he always wanted to. The man is a Crooner with a Capital C and if the glory note of lead single “11:11” doesn’t hit you in your nether regions you are certainly made of stronger stuff than me. Plus, he’s shirtless in the opening of the video, because again, he knows what the people want.
We’ve never had someone win both the Feelie and Most Handsome Young Man. Will Ben make HOF History and be the one to do it? That’s entirely in your hands. — Kim
All together now! Roy Keeeeent! Roy Keeeeent! He’s here! He’s there! Roy Keeeeent! Roy Keeeent! He’s here! He’s there! He’s a handsome young man, Roy Kent!
As if we would leave Ted Lasso’s handsomest breakout star Brett Goldstein, you guys. Brett first caught our eye as the ill-fated Astos in Doctor Who’s series eleven episode “The Tsuranga Conundrum.” We were all bummed when the hot nurse didn’t survive the episode, but little did we know what Brett had in store for us two years down the road when Ted Lasso premiered.
It’s like Roy Kent was custom designed in a lab just for us, y’all. (Maybe he was? There is a big conspiracy that Roy is a CGI character after all.) A foul-mouthed gruff-voiced misanthrope who is a secret softie with a heart of gold. A MAN to his very core yet a paragon of non-toxic masculinity. A supportive boyfriend who is his girlfriend’s biggest fan. The kind of uncle who will postpone Sexy Christmas until December 28th just to find a solution for his niece’s bad breath. A girls’ football coach who swears at his team as if they were adults but would rip the head off of any person who would do the same. In short, Roy Kent is a dream man, and Brett’s performance is so good it borders on pornographic.
It gets even worse when you realize that so many of Roy’s best traits clearly come from Brett himself since he practically birthed the character in the first place, writing for the show and shaping the character before he was even cast in the role. He’s incredibly charming and personable at every press appearance. He swears his way through every talk show interview, red carpet appearance, and even his Emmy speech, AFTER swearing that he wasn’t going to swear. He’s obviously adored by his castmates, judging how they all lost their damn minds when he won that Emmy. He oozes easy confidence and total wide-eyed glee that all of this fame stuff is happening to him at the same time. He seems to recognize that this moment for him could be fleeting, so he’s going to soak up every little bit of it that he can, and that’s just so refreshing to me. Enjoy the moment, Brett! You’ve earned it.
All of that plus his classic good looks? If that’s not a resume fit for a Handsome Young Man nominee, I don’t know what is. — Kim
Lil Nas X
Our Patreon sponsor Kortnea nominates Lil Nas X for this year’s Most Young Man and it’s easy to see why. It feels like Nas has always been a part of our cultural conversation due to his current ubiquity, so much so that it’s easy to forget that his breakout single “Old Town Road” is barely three years old and his full length debut album Montero only dropped in September 2021. This truly feels like his moment and it’s an honor to watch it unfold right before our eyes.
I think my favorite thing about Lil Nas X is his sheer audacity. Everything he does is bold and in your face, from his social media presence to his incredibly stylish and music videos that celebrate queerness and self-acceptance, all the while deliberately giving conservative naysayers nightmares on the regular. And he’s not all style and no substance either. Every single song he’s released has been a fucking bop which makes his success all the most satisfying.
It has to be incredibly satisfying for him as well. One of the most appealing things about Lil Nas X is how open he’s been with the homophobia he’s faced in his lifetime, both in his personal life and in the music industry, and how healing his music has been for him now that he is out and proud. Rather than shy away from his sexuality, like he says he did in his youth, he’s celebrating his it now, making everything that much gayer because he was told not to. He’s incredibly brave to do it all at not even the peak of his career. He’s a trailblazer, he’s a role model, he’s a beacon of light for so many young queer members of the Black Community who now get to see themselves in him.
And let’s talk about the shallow things too. Lil Nas X is fucking gorgeous, from those big brown eyes to his enviably plush lips that most Instagram influencers dream about to that banging body. Not content to just rest on his natural good looks, Lil Nas enhances them by continuously pushing the boundaries when it comes to the binary nature of the fashion industries, draping himself in jewelry, and bright colors, and showing off those legs in painted on leather pants and mini-skirts. He wears dresses better than many starlets and he absolutely slayed at his first Met Gala. You never know what exactly he’s going to show up at an event in, and that’s what makes him so exciting to watch.
Plus, he has a ringing endorsement from none other than Sir Elton John himself. You can’t get much cooler or more Most Handsome Young Man worthy than that. — Kim
We love an overnight success moment, particularly when it comes alongside meaningful new representation in the biggest film franchise we’ve got. And that’s what happened when Simu Liu went from being a Canadian sitcom star to being a Marvel superhero with the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
What’s so appealing about Simu (in addition to allll the rest of it) is that, at no point during this whole process, was he afraid to let his excitement show. He truly has no chill about being Shang-Chi, a character he first put himself forward for on Twitter of all places, and why should he? Being cast in a Marvel movie is a life-changing experience, and acting unimpressed by such good fortune is for the birds.
At the same time, Simu delivered, carrying an MCU flick with all the confidence such a gig requires. And he essentially gave us two performances: San Francisco hotel valet Shaun, whose favorite thing to do is karaoke with his best friend, and baby assassin/son of eternal baddie Wenwu, Shang-Chi, whose favorite thing to do is…also karaoke with his best friend. He’s so relatable as a foundering millennial that we were all his stunned BFF Katy when he popped his shirt off (and thank you for that) to cage fight his sister or took on a careening bus full of trained killers. Those stunts and that fight choreography were no joke, and that’s where it was so apparent that Simu didn’t just fall into this role — he’s literally been working towards it his whole life.
But again, throughout his breakout year as an actor and a heartthrob, Simu has remained a man of the people, and never was that more clear than when he exposed himself to be a Selling Sunset stan. And while some of us may binge the real estate reality series on the DL, Simu took his fandom public, becoming the first A-lister to stroll into the Oppenheim Group on camera. RIP to Chrishell for dropping the ball there — you know something went wrong when you end up dating your creepy boss instead of the dreamy movie star you took on an intimate house tour.
In conclusion, my mom says he has a nice smile, and she’s right! He could have this honor too, if he has your vote. — Sage
And those are your nominees! Who will reign supreme as Most Handsome Young Man? That’s entirely in your hands.
Vote hard! Vote Often! Remember voting is open until 5 PM EST on January 17th, so don’t ever sit back and just assume your fave will take the crown. This will be a fight to the finish and we can’t wait to see who will emerge victorious.