Update Dec. 6, 2023: Time magazine has revealed its 2023 Person of the Year. See who it is here!
From Dec. 4: Time magazine has unveiled the shortlist for its 2023 Person of the Year, and the candidates hail from Hollywood to the House of Windsor and beyond.
The magazine’s editors selected nine individuals or groups they felt had the most influence on the world this year. They will announce the Person of the Year exclusively on TODAY on Dec. 6.
Every year since 1927, Time has named a Person of the Year, a list that has included world leaders, activists and cultural figures.
Last year, the magazine named Ukrainian leader Volodmyr Zelenskyy as its Person of the Year for his leadership amid the invasion by Russia. The 2021 selection was Space X, Tesla and Twitter mogul Elon Musk.
Here are this year’s candidates, and see our two polls below to vote for your choice.
See the results from our TODAY.com poll: Who should be Time’s 2023 Person of the Year?
After 11,299 votes, TODAY.com readers voted for:
43%: Taylor Swift
15%: Trump prosecutors
8%: King Charles III
6%: Hollywood Strikers
3%: Sam Altman
3%: Vladimir Putin
2%: Xi Jinping
1%: Jerome Powell
Read more below about each of the nine finalists:
The Hollywood Strikers
Writers and actors fought against the top Hollywood studios for more rights and better pay this year as streaming and artificial intelligence have upended the industry. For the first time since 1960, the separate unions representing the writers and the actors went on strike simultaneously, bringing production of television shows, movies and more to a halt for months.
The Writers Guild of America strike ended on Sept. 27 after four months of picket lines. They secured an agreement for increased minimums, bonuses on residuals tied to viewership for streaming, and rules about artificial intelligence. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists ended its strike on Nov. 10 with an agreement of their own governing the use of artificial intelligence and a creation of a fund to pay actors residuals for future viewings of their work on streaming services.
China’s president and leader of the nation’s communist party is on the shortlist for the second straight year and the third time since 2019. At the moment, Xi presides over a sluggish economy and tensions with the U.S. that he worked to defuse in a meeting with President Joe Biden last month.
The world’s second-largest economy has seen declines in key economic metrics and faced a debt crisis among some of its largest real estate developers.
Xi, 70, also had not spoken with Biden for more than a year, raising fears of rising tensions before the two met last month in San Francisco. They agreed to revive communication between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, crack down on fentanyl trafficking and work to address the use of artificial intelligence. But the two leaders' differences over the status of Taiwan remain a sticking point.
The pop superstar was seemingly everywhere this year. Her Eras Tour remains one of the hottest tickets in the world, her music was the most streamed of any artist on Spotify, and her romance with Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce made a legion of Swifties suddenly interested in the NFL.
Swift, 33, also created a frenzy by appearing in person at multiple Chiefs games this season to cheer on Kelce and hang out with his mom, Donna. On top of that, Her “Eras Tour” movie has grossed more than $250 million worldwide, making her a billionaire in the process. She has even done the seemingly impossible — transcending America’s political divide.
One of the leading figures in the world of artificial intelligence, Altman reclaimed his position as chief executive of OpenAI last month after a tumultuous few days in which he was initially removed by the company’s board.
Altman, 38, is the leader behind the tech startup that created ChatGPT, the chatbot powered by artificial intelligence that has been used for everything from kids’ homework to diagnosing medical issues. Altman has evangelized for pushing AI forward to become more integrated in all aspects of life, while other leading figures have called for taking it slow to avoid a potential catastrophe.
On Nov. 17, the board of the nonprofit that oversees OpenAI said it removed Altman as CEO, saying he was not “consistently candid” in his dealings with the board. The company appointed two interim CEOs before the staff threatened to resign en masse, ultimately resulting in Altman being reinstated as CEO and multiple board members being ousted.
King Charles III
It’s been a year of transition in the British monarchy, with the official coronation of King Charles III, 75, taking place in May. The former Prince Charles succeeded his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the throne following her death in September 2022.
His reign has coincided with high inflation and economic woes in Britain, as well as turmoil in the royal family. His son, Prince Harry, opened up about their relationship and his rift with Prince William in his best-selling memoir, “Spare.” The monarch’s relationship with his wife, Queen Camilla, and the deterioration of his marriage to the late Princess Diana have also been depicted in the Netflix hit “The Crown.”
Charles is also dealing with the fallout of a controversial new book about the royal family. The British press has widely reported that the Dutch translation of "Endgame" by Omid Scobie named him and the Princess of Wales as allegedly having commented on the skin color of the unborn son of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, when she was pregnant with Archie.
The author denied printing the names in the manuscript, while Buckingham Palace has declined comment.
The chair of the Federal Reserve has had investors and consumers paying close attention to his decisions about whether to raise or freeze interest rates as he tries to navigate the U.S. through high inflation without triggering a recession.
Higher interest rates have made it more expensive for those looking to buy homes and automobiles, as well as businesses looking to secure loans, but inflation also has been lowered since reaching a peak last year.
The Federal Reserve did not raise interest rates in September and October after a series of increases in 2022 and earlier this year that pushed rates for a 30-year home loan past 7% to their highest total in 22 years. Powell is trying to get inflation back down to 2% after it peaked at 9.1% annually in June 2022.
At a time when trips to the movie theater had drastically declined in the wake of the pandemic, director Greta Gerwig’s pink-splashed take on feminism and the iconic Mattel toy brought everyone back in droves. The “Barbie” movie became a worldwide phenomenon, becoming the year’s highest-grossing film at more than $1.3 billion and spawning memes and joyous scenes at movie theaters across the country.
The movie starring Margot Robbie as the title character and Ryan Gosling as Ken also became one half of the phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer,” in which people went and saw “Barbie” and then the film “Oppenheimer” about the director of the project that created the atomic bomb.
The president of Russia has presided over a grinding war with Ukraine that began when Russia invaded the neighboring country in February 2022 under Putin’s orders.
The U.S. has shown steadfast financial, logistical and military support for Ukraine since the beginning of a war in which hundreds of thousands have been killed.
In a stunning challenge to his authority in Russia, Putin withstood a mutiny led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary Wagner Group in June. Wagner fighters captured a Russian city before marching on Moscow but halted their advance after a deal brokered by the Belarusian president allowed Prigozhin and his fighters to leave for Belarus. Prigozhin and several of his top men were then killed in a plane crash outside Moscow in August, which Putin denied was a revenge assassination for the mutiny.
Former president and presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is facing 91 felony counts in Georgia, New York and two federal districts in criminal and civil cases as he mounts a bid for reelection.
Trump faces a civil suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleging he fraudulently inflated the worth of his assets to secure favorable loans and pay less taxes. Also in New York, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought felony charges in March against Trump alleging he falsified business records to pay hush money to adult film actor Stormy Daniels after she said she had a sexual relationship with him.
Trump also faces a racketeering case in Fulton County, Georgia, brought by District Attorney Fani Willis in connection with the 2020 election. The charges allege he worked with 18 others to steal the 2020 election.
On the federal level, the Department of Justice has charged Trump with 37 felonies related to classified documents. Special counsel Jack Smith brought charges alleging Trump took the documents from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after he left office, refused to return them after repeated requests and also lied about them through his attorneys.
Smith also charged Trump with four felonies in a separate case in Washington, D.C., that involved Trump's efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election.
Trump has vehemently attacked Smith, James, Willis and Bragg on his Truth Social platform, which led to a judge issuing a gag order in the New York civil case brought by James. Bragg was also sent death threats.