This is an annual tradition here at LaineyGossip. Every year, mid to late November, PEOPLE Magazine anoints who they’ve decided to be the Sexist Man Alive. Every year, a week or so before that happens, I handicap the candidates and offer my prediction. Brag alert: I’m pretty good at this game. Last year I had it right with Dwayne The Rock Johnson. But last year it was almost too easy. He was the obvious choice. This year, the field is more open. 

The value of the Sexiest Man Alive has decreased over the years. It used to be exclusively movie stars. But true movie stars are rarely created anymore. It used to be that whoever was chosen would accept the title. Now, more and more, many of the men who are potentials for the title turn it down. Rumour has it, and I have repeated this every year since, the year that Bradley Cooper was named SMA, it was first offered to Ryan Gosling who said no thanks. The SMA took a further hit in prestige when PEOPLE declared in 2013 that it was Adam Levine. A couple of years after that it was David Beckham. Which, sure, he’s been sexy for a long time. But if it was athletes who were being considered, it’s not like he was in his athletic prime. LeBron would have made more sense. It was a strange decision. 

You know who was named SMA prematurely? Chris Hemsworth. He took the title in 2014, before we found out that he could make us laugh, before Thor became your favourite Avenger. 

Anyway, before we begin, if you’re new to reading this site and/or unfamiliar with how the handicapping works, remember, it’s not about who YOU think is the Sexiest Man Alive (that actor on that cult favourite television show), it’s about who meets PEOPLE’s criteria. This means that the SMA has to have name recognition, has to be at a certain level of fame already. Also, typically, the SMA has something to promote. There’s something more in it for him. And of course PEOPLE is an American publication. More often than not, the SMA is American. If the SMA is not American, he has to appeal to the American sensibility. Most past SMAs have been actors. The SMA is also rarely a person of colour. To date, there has only been one black man named Sexiest Man Alive: Denzel Washington. He was the only Sexiest Man of colour until last year when The Rock became the SMA. Will PEOPLE go back-to-back non-white? And will the SMA ever be a gay man? 

Eventually….maybe. But for that to happen, a gay man has to reach the status of the Brad Pitts and the George Clooneys of the world. There is no gay actor who is there quite yet – because Hollywood isn’t there yet. 

And this year in particular, I wonder if PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive deliberations are extra complicated, given the conversation that’s dominated Hollywood over the last 6 weeks. Every day a new predator is exposed. Can you imagine the f-cking sh-t that would explode if PEOPLE chose a SMA who gets called out for sexual misconduct? 

So here’s my list, with one post dedicated to each candidate and their odds, culminating this afternoon with my runner-up and my prediction for 2017. As always, please yell at me and send me your thoughts and comments and suggestions.