If you have been a regular visitor of this site for the last 15 years, you know that at this time of year, this week exactly actually, I handicap a list of possible contenders for PEOPLE’s annual Sexiest Man Alive and make a prediction. Click here to see last year’s feature. PEOPLE is doing this a week earlier than usual this time but it wouldn’t have made a difference. Because back in September, I’d already made my prediction: Michael B Jordan. 

It’s not Michael B Jordan. MBJ meets all the criteria but I may have overlooked a trend – at 32 years old, he’d be the youngest Sexiest Man Alive since 2014. The last four SMAs (David Beckham, Dwayne Johnson, Blake Shelton, and now Idris Elba) are all in their 40s. From 2010 to 2014, the SMAs were all in their 30s. The youngest ever SMA remains Tom Cruise, way back in 1990, when he was 28. Since then, no SMA has been under 30. 


So it was probably too early for MBJ, even though this would have been a great year, with Black Panther as one of the most successful movies of 2018 and with the release of Creed II in just a couple of weeks. That said, as we’ve been debating for over the last few years, the prestige of PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive has dropped over the last decade or so. Last year’s Blake Shelton selection didn’t help. At this point in his career, MBJ doesn’t necessarily need the title. And since we haven’t seen his peak yet, he probably won’t ever need it anyway. Unless, of course, Idris Elba elevates the SMA’s status back to where it used to be. We’ll discuss that in the next post.

For now, here’s MBJ the other night at the Hollywood Film Awards where he represented Black Panther and presented to Ryan Coogler. Don’t forget, Marvel is pushing Black Panther for award season, hoping that it’ll go all the way to the Oscars. It’s going to be one of the most intriguing Oscar storylines: Can Black Panther break through in the Best Picture category?