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Leading Man Tournament Week 8: The 2000s

It’s here, the final slate of nominees!  Next week will kick off the final two weeks of the tournament where we’ll divide up the winners and see who is the ultimate Leading Man!  I’ll get more into next week but be sure to come back and vote for the ultimate winner.  The 2000s.  I was reluctant to do the first ten years of this millennium just because there are no more “movie stars” but I wanted to see who is the end-all, be-all leading man and figured to do that would require the last vestiges of star we have.  With that, know that this was extremely hard in comparison to the other decades as so many actors have short shelf-lives.  The actors here represent, to me, what the first ten years of the 2000s have looked liked (and it pained me to include one of these actors but they do represent the period).  Remember voting goes through next Sunday (July 15th).  Asterisks next to titles indicate I’ve reviewed them.  Happy voting and good luck to our nominees!


Films That Secured His Nomination:  Ocean’s series, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air, The Descendants*, O Brother Where Art Thou?

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  Despite my mentioning there’s no true “movie stars” left I’d make the argument for George Clooney.  Some critics have gone so far as to label him this generation’s Cary Grant (which I’m not sure I’d agree with) but there’s no doubt this is a man who has clout in Hollywood.  He directs, he writes, and he’s won numerous awards to show for it as evidenced in my Road to the Oscars review of The Descendants.  I’ve seen everything Clooney has put out in the last ten years and he shows a consistency in his acting!


Films That Secured His Nomination: The Notebook, Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine, Drive

My Thoughts on the Nominee: Okay so having to look up Ryan Gosling pictures for this was not a terrible thing, I just had to tell you that.  Honestly, Ryan Gosling has a solid chance of winning this (and I have been wrong…pretty much the entire tournament) because he caters to all genres, genders, and audiences.  Girls love him because of The Notebook (and despite being a girl the movie is only okay in my eyes) and men love him for Drive (which I freaking love, yes more than The Notebook).  His roles are diverse and all his movies are stupendous, literally I’ve seen them all (go rent Half Nelson and All Good Things ASAP)!  I will admit I’ve loved Ryan Gosling since I was about six, since the Mickey Mouse Club and that’s only grown with the phenomenal range of films he’s put out.  Okay, I’ll stop gushing now.


Films That Secured His Nomination:  Remember the Titans, Training Day*, Man on Fire, American Gangster

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  Denzel Washington was originally slated for the 1990s before some changes pushed him into the 2000s and honestly, it’s up in the air as to where Washington fits better.  Some could say he’s merely recycling his 90s films into the 2000s but I believe his finest work is in this decade particularly Training Day and American Gangster (although I’ve been told they’re the same characters but I think they’re separate in terms of approach).  Washington won an Oscar in this decade for Training Day and while not all of his output has been good, they’re made buckets of money and are enjoyable.


Films That Secured His Nomination:  Twilight series

My Thoughts on the Nominee: Let me say I HATED including Robert Pattinson in this decade but as much as it pains me to admit the Twilight movies are fairly iconic in this decade and the actors it’s spawned into the world.  I despise Pattinson in everything he does, I fairly think he has no talent, but he is what we have to pass for a film star in this decade and honestly I’m intrigued to see how far he makes it in league with these other actors.  Although I could get a slew of Twi-hards trying to rig the votes and he might win…then I’ve really shot myself in the foot….this should be interesting.


Films That Secured His Nomination:  Old School, Elf*, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Stepbrothers

My Thoughts on the Nominee:  I didn’t include Jim Carrey in the 1990s and I wanted one funnyman so I went with Will Ferrell to round out our nominees.  As mentioned with some of the others, his movies have mass appeal and have made millions at the box office.  Not to mention Ferrell’s ability to play the same character, in different situations, leads to hilarity in the films above.  Not to mention he’s responsible for creating a holiday classic with Elf!

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

7 thoughts on “Leading Man Tournament Week 8: The 2000s Leave a comment

  1. If I sense a Robert Pattinson rigging, do I have your permission it out somehow? Maybe? (I’m probably going to end up begging and pleading to help restore some balance on my blog if that happens.)


    • Lol while I don’t condone cheating….I’m REALLY hoping Pattinson doesn’t edge out. If there is evidence of tampering in Pattinson’s favor I’ll be squashing that immediately…but I might miss some additional numbers given to another candidate lol.


      • Haha, noted. 🙂
        I’m glad you included this decade. I think Ryan Gosling deserves representation. Clooney is charming, sure, and I do enjoy his movies, but I think Gosling is easily the one with the most talent and versatility on that list. And he deserves a spot for that.

        No points for guessing who I voted for, then. 🙂


  2. Well this is probably the easiest decision I’ve had to make. I do love Lars and the Real Girl but haven’t broadly loved Gosling. Clooney by miles. More reason I wish DiCaprio had been 00s. Oh, and Michael Fassbender wins the 2010s, I’m calling it now.


    • Clooney and Gosling are my personal favorites of this decade, I might contemplate moving Dicaprio to the 2000s next year, if only because he’s got a stronger body of work which is looking like an indicator of voting success. I thought about including Michael Fassbender (I’m mildly obsessed with him…okay mildly is it lightly) but didn’t know if he represented the decade, I think by next year’s tourney we’ll know for sure.


  3. Robert Pattinson?!? Ahhhhhhhh! This one comes down to Clooney and Gosling for me, but I have to go with Clooney simply for his longevity and consistency.


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