SMA Greets New Decade With Emile Hirsch As #1

The stability in the top spot masks some true drama in the struggle for top honors on the first Sexiest Males Alive list of the new decade (see #1-10 below). The two guys to fight it out for Climber Of The Month, Jay Brannan and Leonardo DiCaprio (climbing eleven and ten spots, respectively), have one thing in common: Their complete refusal to be written off. They may be down for a while, and you may be hard pressed to find a reason for them to bounce back anytime soon, and then, BAM, they rocket upwards nonetheless. For Brannan, his impressive improvement should be attributed to his new single, Christmas Really Sucks, and the cover art that came with it, while Leo was helped by my accidental rewatching of Titanic.

Going in the opposite direction was William Moseley, the former Narnia beaut, sliding a worrisome twelve spots, making him something close to a negative mirror image of Brannan. His comfort should be that his lights are nowhere near out yet, which is more than can be said about Gareth Bale, Dan Stevens, Daniel Radcliffe, and perhaps most remarkably, Cristiano Ronaldo. Gareth Bale’s and Daniel Radcliffe’s inability to stabilize have been so consistent as to have become almost predictable by now, and the end of Stevens’ briefly glorious run was not entirely unexpected, although he took a very steep fall. For Ronaldo, the ultimate showdown has been in the wings for months and months. What puzzles me is that I’m still not sure why he has fallen so hard over the last six months or so. In October he even rebounded somewhat. I’d hate for that to be the case, but I simply cannot rule out that limited television time (due to him having traded English soccer for Spain) has to be couple with my deep-seated resentment for his former club Manchester United to provide a half-plausible explanation. Through several years, he symbolized everything I didn’t like about that club, just like David Beckham did before him, and I actually had to fight a little with my self to come to terms with semi-crushing on a Man United player. From a personal best at #5 in the summer of 2008, he is now somewhere below fifty.

In happier news, no less than three former acquaintances are let back into the fold. As one of few who have managed to claw their way back after having been posed with the very hard question of whether his obvious good looks actually were making him a little bit boring, Chace Crawf0rd reemerges, impressively, at #15. This is a clear personal best for the Gossip guy, who fell off the list last August. The honor of returning to the SMA is also afforded  to Randy Harrison, of Queer as Folk fame. I coincidentally watched a couple of episodes one night, and immediately fell back in love with this boyish cutie, who has been absent since May of last year. The most remarkable comeback, however, may have been orchestrated by Michael Cera. I was disappointed when I finally saw Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist last month, but the unconventionally cute Cera was still memorably in every way. Also, New York Magazine had one of those classic profiles of him recently, accompanied by some really sweet pictures. They’re joined by only one newcomer, Taking Woodstock‘s Jonathan Groff. Groff is another one of those unconventional cuties I fall for once in a while. Franz actually captured my exact feeling when he wrote in his review of the movie about the warmth and positive vibe that radiated from Groff, while Hoffman may be more textbook droolworthy. But since people cannot help being beautiful, it would be unreasonable of me to not abstain from acknowledging that (heh). Groff was mentioned by The Daily Beast as a young star to watch in 2010, with an upcoming supporting on Fox’s Glee.

As always, the changes on the list are usually caused by any particular guy being considered by me to be relatively more attractive than he was considered last month. That, however, of course doesn’t necessarily mean that any of the other people on this list have become markedly less attractive, only that they perhaps have not been as good at getting my attention lately.

With that said, let’s break it down:

#1-10: This month, all the four (!) candidates in serious contention for the top spot got plenty of exposure. Admittedly for Hirsch I triggered it myself by rewatching Imaginary Heroes;  Hunter Parrish had the backing of the fifth season of Weeds hitting Norwegian TV screens, while Nick Hoult and Zac Efron both have highly anticipated movies out. I may be saying this every month about anyone of the usual suspects on this list, but for Zac, any other month would have given him a bigger boost for Me and Orson Welles. He’s looking good in the promo pictures, and the movie being directed by the brilliant Richard Linklater, I won’t even have to feel ashamed to go see it when, eventually, it opens in Norway. In the case of Nick Hoult, one could only hope that the Oscar long-shot A Single Man will mark his definitive breakthrough, landing him a prospering career and us further chance to ogle at his marvelousness. In a competitive environment like this, none of the top four should be ruled out for top honors in the near future. This is particularly interesting with regard to Hoult, who has actually never been #1.

It has happened repeatedly on the SMA that the anticipation of a movie has given people a boost, at times more of a boost than the movie itself (for instance, it happened with Leonardo DiCaprio pre-Revolutionary Road). This month it happened to Logan Lerman, who looks even more spectacular than his upcoming franchise movie Percy Jackson looks spectacularly bad. Hopefully, this is the definitive breakthrough for the talented Lerman (of 3:10 to Yuma and Jack & Bobby), who turns 18 later this month. Let’s at least hope it’s better than Eragon (although their presence in that adventure dud still benefits both Ed Speleers and Chris Egan). Time will tell if he’s ready to take on the top four soon.

In the long run, Zac Hanson seems well-placed to mount a challenge himself. Sure, he fell one spot this month, but the next several months promise to be filled with Zac-related news. I recently purchased the new Hanson EP Stand Up, Stand Up off Itunes, and Zac has a great song on there, Use Me Up. A new album is tentatively set for May, and I’m planning on writing my way through all of their studio albums in anticipation of its release. Zac shares that rosy short-term outlook with Luke Pasqualino. The Skins star is back for another season, and the uneven but ultimately satisfying third season convinced me to sign up for another go-round. Of course, Pasqualino played no small part in that.

Finally, Jesse McCartney begun to bounce back after an unprecedentedly rough couple of months, while Mitch Hewer and David Gallagher simply float on past performances. If you’re cute enough you stay; I say more power to them.

#11-2o: Just below them, the big story is Jesse Eiseberg’s post-Zombieland momentum. Not only did he inspire a fawning Early Gay Crushes piece; he also gained nine spots on the SMA. This means that Eisenberg, relying as much on geeky charm and likability as on physical beauty (though I was would argue he has that too, however unconventional), has now surged from #30 to #11 in just two SMAs. There’s no guarantee he’ll even stop there, as long as I still have Adventureland to look forward to. And later this year he’s slated to play Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s The Social Network.

At least as remarkable, however, is Chace Crawford’s solid return showing. The fight in my brain between the half saying he’s smoking hot and the other half arguing he’s classically beautiful to the point of being boring, seems to have been decided firmly in favor of the former. When I finally got around to watch a handful of Gossip Girl episodes over the holidays, heart practically stopped the first time I saw him on screen. He’s a beauty, all right. The only possible problem is that I found his show to be pretty close to unwatchable, with all it’s glossy faux-drama and unlikable, shallow characters. If I continue watching it’ll be because of the eye candy, but Crawford longer-term prospects may depend on it. To my great surprise, I was actually quite drawn to Penn Badgley too. I don’t know why exactly, I just got a sense he’ll look even better five or ten years from now.

Elsewhere, the SMA Disney contingent had a month of both good and average news. Former Phil Of The Future star Raviv Ullman fell four spots to #12, but that’s still better than where he was just months ago, and I wouldn’t fret over Lucas Till’s one spot slide, either. Sure, I expected him to get a bigger boost out of my second viewing of Hannah Montana: The Movie (don’t ask), which was actually much worse when I watched it with someone, but at least he’s keeping his name out there. Climbing into the top twenty, Joe Jonas continues his steady improvement. He’s another one of those guys I can’t quite explain why I’m attracted to, but there’s something about how he has both a masculine and a feminine quality to him that I find somewhat intriguing. His little brother Nick, who I’d argue is good-looking in a more classic if still boyish way, held up really well from his October debut, coming in at a near identical #18.

That leaves the routine unpredictability of Ryan Sheckler, whose seven spot decline would be far more worrisome if he hadn’t shown a consistent ability back up with little or no promotional backing (at least not from channels I watch or websites I visit), an Tyler Hoechlin, who can still rely on reruns of old faithful 7th Heaven to keep him in the running.

#21-30: Forgive me for repeating myself, but if there’s one wild card in the entire SMA machinery, it is, has been and will always be Leonardo DiCaprio. As you well know by now, pretty much any exposure to this essential 90’s movie star will make my heart beat faster and drum up a set of very specific formative memories and experiences. So, when November even had me rewatching Titanic (again, don’t ask), in addition to The Departed, Leo’s massive climb should not come as a surprise. He’ did it this summer, due to the re-release of Total Eclipse, and early in the year, at the heels of Revolutionary Road. Since he has to do this once in a while, history would indicate that he’ll be coming down somewhat soon, but the beauty (among other things) about this guy is that you can never know.

With Randy Harrison’s surprisingly solid re-entry at #28, Charlie Hunnam has a fight on his hands for the title of Sexiest Male In A Nostalgic Queer-Themed Drama Series. Hunnam, once in the top ten, is every bit as dependent upon my willingness to seek out his cuteness as Harrison, and as I’ve said before, his current show, Sons of Anarchy, is not necessary helping him in that department. As I’m no fan of facial hair, he has to hope for my memories of Queer as Folk UK to stay vivid. Dropping to a personal worst, this may be the first time he is really challenged. Among the people surpassing him, we this month find Matt Prokop of High School Musical 3. A shout-out to Jay, who pointed out this picture on Matt’s Twitter account. I think the shorter hair suits him, and just to contradict myself, I’m happy he has some signs of facial hair. At least now I won’t feel like as much of a creep for admiring the boyish cutie.

Ryan Donowho somehow failed to capitalize on my rewatching Imaginary Heroes, but he is yet another one of those who can seemingly go for months without any exposure and still rebound relatively easily. The aforementioned Ryan Sheckler is another example, but none may be more so than Gaspard Ulliel. I’m not entirely sure about the rebound thing though, since has never actually fallen to depths from which a rebound was needed. Next month should offer him a chance to do that, as his still not terribly worrisome four spot slide to #26 is a personal worst. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s joined for the climb by Ed Speleers, the self-fueled ‘actor’/model, who slides to #29, but whose survival instincts on the SMA are excellent. Taylor Hanson seems to have settled in well, and he too could rise as the new Hanson release nears.

31-40: Apart from Jay Brannan’s and Michael Cera’s sudden bursts of momentum, Adam Brody’s rise could be considered emblematic of how the SMA is ruled by coincidence. He takes five spots because my brother decided to rewatch Thank You For Smoking, and thus reminding me why I love this guy. My very failure to remember what I once found so attractive about Alex Pettyfer as to put him in the top ten, is probably the reason why he is taking a dive this month. He sure is beautiful in a model-like way, but the more I look at him, the more this kind of beauty starts to bore me. Chace Crawford may have managed to escape this, but Pettyfer hasn’t.

Speaking of Crawford, his co-star Ed Westwick seemed unable to profit noticeably on me finally getting to know what it’s really about. Again, I think it’s both a physical and a charisma thing. Whether I find him physically attractive may vary almost from frame to frame, but his Gossip character isn’t exactly helping things either. My inability to make up my mind about Westwick was, however, evident long before I watched Gossip Girl, so I would expect him to be an unpredictable presence in the future as well. In other news, also Corbin Bleu and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are on the decline. But while Bleu may face problems soon, having left High School Musical, and his TV show axed after two episodes, 2009 was such a great year for Gordon-Levitt that I think he’ll stay in the spotlight for 2010.

#41-50: The lowest tier is almost always a depressing story, and January’s is no exception. Except for Jonathan Groff and Dougie Poynter, very few had a good month. October freshman Matt Lanter immediately ran into Chace Crawford/Alex Pettyfer-style trouble, and was punished with a ten spot decline. This could of course be because I haven’t seen his, since I assume he can bring some more liveliness and charm in his acting than what you can take away from a couple of photos. That said, he wasn’t terribly impressive in C0mmander in Chief back in the mid-aughts, although he was certainly a pleasure to look at.

If there is continuity here, it’s among those usual suspects – Phillippe, Corbet, Nadal – that always seem to survive, though they never rise much above their current levels. Then I’m more concerned about the fall of William Moseley, which is so steep that it cannot possibly bode well for what’s to come. Mitch Firth could also find himself mired in here permanently if things don’t turn around for him soon.

  1. Emile Hirsch (1)
  2. Hunter Parrish (4)
  3. Zac Efron (2)
  4. Nick Hoult (3)
  5. Logan Lerman (9)
  6. Zac Hanson (5)
  7. Luke Pasqualino (6)
  8. Mitch Hewer (10)
  9. David Gallagher (11)
  10. Jesse McCartney (12)
  11. Jesse Eisenberg (15)
  12. Raviv Ullman (8)
  13. Chris Egan (13)
  14. Ryan Sheckler (7)
  15. Chace Crawford (RE)
  16. Kevin Zegers (14)
  17. Tyler Hoechlin (17)
  18. Nick Jonas (16)
  19. Lucas Till (18)
  20. Joe Jonas (23)
  21. Taylor Hanson (21)
  22. Matt Prokop (29)
  23. Ryan Donowho (20)
  24. Leonardo DiCaprio (34)
  25. Charlie Hunnam (19)
  26. Gaspard Ulliel (22)
  27. Chris Lowell (25)
  28. Randy Harrison (RE)
  29. Ed Speleers (24)
  30. Jamie Bell (26)
  31. Adam Brody (36)
  32. Sean Faris (31)
  33. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (28)
  34. Corbin Bleu (30)
  35. Alex Pettyfer (27)
  36. Jay Brannan (47)
  37. Ed Westwick (38)
  38. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (35)
  39. Michael Cera (RE)
  40. Rhys Wakefield (44)
  41. Jonathan Groff (new)
  42. Dougie Poynter (43)
  43. William Moseley (32)
  44. Shad Moss (41)
  45. Mitch Firth (39)
  46. Rafael Nadal (45)
  47. Matt Lanter (37)
  48. Brady Corbet (48)
  49. Fernando Torres (46)
  50. Ryan Phillippe (49)
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4 Responses to SMA Greets New Decade With Emile Hirsch As #1

  1. jay says:

    thats a really interesting list . I’m always pleased to see Emile on top , i still have to see woodstock yet . I borrowed clip from Imaginary Heroes for a short vid i did .
    Its one of Dean Collins favourite films , which brings me to Logan . I’m pretty sure that if Percy isn’t well all that good , Logan will be okay .I’m interested to see it in my own way .

    The wonderful william , why isn’t he out there working ? what does he do with his time ? should bruce weber take some pictures of him ?. Sigh and there’s Matty P at 22 he was quite good medium , out went the goofyiness and it came actor matty !

  2. queerlefty says:

    Jay, I’m definitely gonna see ‘Percy’, but it would be solely for Logan. From the trailer I’m afraid it could be another ‘Eragon’, but I understand this is some kind of big franchise with a specific and dedicated audience, which hopefully means we’ll get to see Logan age in the role and launch a career on it.

    You really, really should see ‘Imaginary Heroes’. Not only is it an absolutely astonishing movie; not only does it have Emile; it even has Ryan Donowho, an actor/musician who definitely should get back into acting soon. Same goes for Moseley, I suppose.

  3. Dude, you have to see A SINGLE MAN with Nicholas Hoult. I couldn’t take my eyes of him; it was like watching him on SKINS only with designer clothes. Hahaha. But I have to admit that his American accent distracted me. It didn’t sound… right.

    “[A]ccidental rewatching of Titanic.” No such thing! Hahahaha. Gotta love Leo. I cannot believe SHUTTER ISLAND kept getting pushed back. It was supposed to be released, I think, in the fall here in the states (September/November). I guess I’ll just have to wait 1 more month. Have you seen the trailer for INCEPTION? He needs to win an Oscar already.

    • queerlefty says:

      Nick Hoult is spectacular. I can’t wait to see ‘A Single Man’, but it’s not set for a Norwegian release until late February, probably in an attempt to capitalize on its expected Oscar nominations. It looks lovely, in every sense.

      Yeah, ‘Shutter Island’ is starting to bother me too. Just release it already. Like you, I hope ‘Inception’ could finally be the movie that garners Leo a well-deserved. In my opinion, he should have been nominated for ‘Revolutionary Road’ last year, and it’s about time his work is recognized. And I mean, Leo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Paige in the same movie? And Marion Cotillard too? It’s gotta be gold.

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