PEOPLE Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive 2023 will be revealed tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Playing the Sexiest Man Alive prediction game is a regular feature here at LaineyGossip, we’ve been doing it every year since we started.
A few weeks ago at The Squawk we were talking about possible SMA candidates and some people were hoping for Travis Kelce, lol. I’m not laughing because I don’t think Travis is sexy, I’m laughing because, well, eight weeks ago no one would have had Travis on their SMA bingo card. Travis was never going to make the possibility list if not for Taylor Swift, let’s please not pretend otherwise. Yes he is successful, yes he is charming, yes he has celebrity aspirations beyond football – but let’s not forget the SMA requirements that we go over every year, and perhaps the most important one: the SMA has to be SUPER famous, recognisable to almost everyone. And before he became Taylor’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce did not meet that fame qualification. Which makes Taylor his ONLY qualification for the title. Which means that, like, it’s kinda risky to be crowning him SMA this early into their relationship, you know?
Travis Kelce’s SMA odds? I say 20 to 1. And we can probably do better. For my prediction this year, I’ve narrowed it down to four finalists. But before we handicap their chances, let’s review how this game works. It’s not about who you think is sexy, it’s about who is most likely to be chosen by PEOPLE and their audience, the MiniVan Majority. Which means that the SMA typically is not niche. They’re selling a magazine here – they need the face on that magazine to be familiar to as many people as possible. That hot actor you’re into on that British crime show isn’t checking that box.
Next, the SMA has to accept the title. He has to say yes to the proposal, which is a little bit cheesy and also kinda hilarious and it comes with a photo shoot and an exclusive interview and a sash in the form of no sash, as in please take your shirt off and pose. Some actors don’t have the sense of humour for this. Or they take themselves too seriously for it. This is why the Sexiest Man Alive has never been Leonardo DiCaprio.
So with all that in mind, here are my final four and the prediction.
-It’s been a year since Top Gun: Maverick took him to another level of fame, a lot more people know him now
-He has a rom-com coming out at Christmas, co-starring Sydney Sweeney, and they went viral earlier this year when people started speculating about their off-screen relationship while they were shooting together. Social media was very invested in this story, and if PEOPLE was after that demographic with their SMA pick, they’d guarantee some early buzz over their new issue right out of the gate
-He’s thirsty enough for it, he would totally do it, totally give us a repeat of what we saw during the beach football scene in TG:M
-He’s the right age, 35 years old, old enough to not be thought of us a young buck, old enough to bring in the horny moms, and young enough to get Gen Z going
-He’s much more well-known now, for sure, but I’m not sure he’s at that TOP LEVEL of fame yet. This might happen for him after Anyone But You, the movie with Sydney, comes out, if it counterprograms well against some of the big movies at the holiday box office, but right now, he might not be quite there yet
-The reigning Sexiest Man Alive is Chris Evans. And…um… from far away they’re kind of the same person, physically. Going back-to-back with lookalike SMAs isn’t all that imaginative.
-If it’s Glen, that would be three white men in a row holding the Sexiest Man Alive title. Also not a great look for PEOPLE Magazine
Odds: 18 to 1
-Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom comes out in December and there hasn’t been as much anticipation as the studio would probably prefer, especially after nobody cared about The Flash. This would be classic leading man movie promotion.
-We don’t even need to talk about his willingness; Jason, I imagine, is willing and he’s been on the fringes of this title for a long time.
-Jason is sexy, like the kind of sexy you want to climb – which is very much what gets the MiniVan Majority all turned up. I can picture them purring at him with a glass of rosé in hand.
-The strike is not over, and it won’t be over by the time the SMA is announced tonight on Kimmel. Even if Jason doesn’t mention the movie himself, and doesn’t talk about it himself, leaving it to the magazine to name drop Aquaman, will a cover shoot like this be seen as promotion, and therefore against the rules?
As an aside, this is what’s tricky about this year’s SMA. Because how could any actor possibly commit to doing something like this without somehow promoting work by a struck company?
-Jason, at least in my feeds, seems to be polarising online. He’s definitely less popular since his split from Lisa Bonet. Let’s be honest, she made him cool, the fact that he locked down Denise Huxtable herself was one of his most attractive qualities. And now the way some people talk about him out there it’s like they’re skeeved by his general energy, which wasn’t helped recently by that story about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans during Aquaman filming, because he was accused of doing Amber Heard dirty…and even if those are just rumours, I don’t know that PEOPLE wants that stink.
Odds: 15 to 1
And then there were two. This was hard for me, deciding which one would be the prediction; I keep vacillating back and forth. An hour ago it was one dude, and then an hour later I changed my mind. So here’s what I’m thinking in the moment.
-Barbie is the biggest movie of the year, and it was basically a movie about Ken.
-In a career full of outstanding performances, playing Ken might just be Ryan Gosling’s greatest performance. And, again, he was KEN. But of course, we all know, and we knew, that Ryan Gosling wouldn’t agree to the role unless Ken was… Kenough. More than Kenough. That’s the gravitas he brought to the role…without making it feel like it was gravitas. He played it beautifully, and I don’t just mean on camera, because in all the press leading up to the release, Ryan cleverly baited us out and made us feel like Ken was a joke, instead of trying to compensate for the perceived Kenothing of the character, he leaned into the preconceptions and came out the other side a whole and complete doll. It’s an extraordinary achievement, he SHOULD be nominated for Oscar, and it only adds to his already impressive reputation.
-According to Sexiest Man Alive legend, Ryan should have been the SMA years and years ago…but he turned it down because back then, well, he hadn’t reconnected with his Kenergy. Over the last decade or so, he’s gotten over himself, and in taking on Ken in such an immersive way, I feel like he’s found that sense of humour again, and would give a different answer now when asked to wear the crown.
-He’s probably the only white guy, at this given moment, with Barbie the success that it is, to be able to be the third in a white guy three-peat for this title.
-The strike is the biggest obstacle. Preparations for the SMA issue would have started weeks and weeks ago and I can’t see him agreeing to this without some assurance from SAG-AFTRA that it wouldn’t be a problem. But with Barbie being such a big boost for Warner Bros, a struck company, and the fact that it was the phenomenon that it was this year, I also can’t see the union signing off on it.
-If they didn’t sign off on it, well, most importantly, it might hurt his Oscar chances and f-ck the SMA, the Oscar is the real prize here. He might just be the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor right now, and the SMA just isn’t worth messing with those chances.
Odds: 10 to 1
Which is why… my prediction for this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is…
-I will not waste your time and list his dominance in the music industry. Bad Bunny is HUGE. Streaming and record sales and global popularity, he has all the fame and success and recognition credentials. Everybody knows who Bad Bunny is.
-Benito is sexy AF.
-This is a man who actively wants to be, and has been, involved in professional wrestling. And you don’t think he’s campy enough to step into the title of Sexiest Man Alive?
-I have just gone through the list of all the SMAs since 1985 and I cannot find a Latino man among them. Now granted, I am very, very jetlagged. I am working on the eastern time zone and living in Japan’s time zone and my brain is fried so it’s possible that I might have missed someone. But the way I’m seeing it right now, there has never been a Latino Sexiest Man Alive. It’s f-cking time.
He’s my prediction so I really don’t see an argument against but if I had to cite one, there is only one: his age. Bad Bunny is 29 years old. There hasn’t been an SMA in his 20s since Tom Cruise in 1990 when he was 27. But even that turns into an argument in favour for Benito because it’s about time to break that streak.
That is my prediction: Bad Bunny will be the Sexiest Man Alive? Agree or disagree? We’re talking about this at The Squawk today – join us!