With a new movie on the way in November, the 50th anniversary of his namesake franchise, and a buzzed-about appearance at the London Olympics, James Bond is having a pretty big year. And today it just got even bigger, as 007 took home the No. 1 spot on AskMen’s list of the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2012.
AskMen’s annual feature, now in its seventh year, received over 500,000 votes from men around the world. The votes determined the men who have had the biggest impact on their lives over the past 12 months, and while it may surprise some that a fictional character can rank higher than real-life role models like Bill Clinton (No. 3) and Barack Obama (No. 11), there’s certainly past precedent for Bond’s win. Back in 2010, "Mad Men’s" Don Draper was similarly named No. 1.
Reinvention stands out as a common denominator among the men who made the list, from Jay-Z (No. 22), who’s taking on a larger role as a businessman and political activist, to the newly crowned Snoop Lion (No. 36) and the ever-evolving Howard Stern (No. 37). And who better exemplifies this trait than James Bond, a character who has undergone multiple reinventions over a period of 50 years and 23 movies, with six different actors portraying him.
Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2012
Through it all, Bond has remained a bastion of cool, an influential style icon and tastemaker. So it’s maybe not quite as surprising as it might at first seem that the British super-spy was voted No. 1 by men everywhere.
James Bassil, AskMen’s editor-in-chief, says, “Despite the regular reminders that our gender has reached its end, AskMen's Top 49 list offers up plenty of examples of men who have sustained success – and others who found it anew through reinventing themselves, just as many of our readers have had to in recent years.”
Bond wasn’t the only fictional character to make the Top 49 either: Christian Grey came in at No. 13, proving that men everywhere have benefited from their spouses’ lower inhibitions and more open minds after reading 50 Shades of Grey.
It’s also an election year, and AskMen voters tagged Obama as their clear pick, with the president coming in 13 spots ahead of Mitt Romney (No. 24). Both politicians, however, were outdone by Clinton, who placed third, behind Bond and Usain Bolt (No. 2).
And while Bolt may have been the runner-up in the Top 49, he was second to none at the London Olympics, where the sprinter’s record-breaking performance showed men everywhere the hard work and sheer determination needed to stay at the top of your game.
Rounding out this year’s Top 5 were "Family Guy" and "Ted" creator Seth MacFarlane (No. 4) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (No. 5), both part of Hollywood’s new wave. Notably absent was a member of the acting world’s old guard, George Clooney. Clooney’s absence means Kanye West (No. 31) is the only man to make the Top 49 all seven years in a row, and LeBron James (No. 32) joins Obama with five appearances apiece.
See who else made this year’s Top 49, over at AskMen.
AskMen’s 2012 Top 10:
1. James Bond
2. Usain Bolt
3. Bill Clinton
4. Seth MacFarlane
5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
6. Jimmy Kimmel
7. Elon Musk
8. Frank Ocean
9. Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger
10. Ryan Gosling