Pop Culture

Justin Timberlake, James Gandolfini among GQ Men of the Year selections

GQ has unveiled its five men of the year for 2013, and it's an eclectic bunch: Justin Timberlake, Matthew McConaughey, Will Ferrell, Kendrick Lamar and James Gandolfini each will grace a cover of the magazine's December issue. 

From top left, Justin Timberlake, Matthew McConaughey, James Gandolfini, Will Ferrell and Kendrick Lamar are all GQ's men of the year.

Each has had, or will have, a big year in 2013, for a variety of reasons. Timberlake released a hit double album ("The 20/20 Experience") that debuted at No. 1 and has since been certified double platinum; reunited with his original boy band *NSYNC; and earned an Emmy nomination for his appearance on "Saturday Night Live" (an award he's won twice before). 

"There's nothing this guy can't do," GQ deputy editor Michael Hainey said on TODAY Tuesday when announcing the five men being honored. 

Matthew McConaughey hit early on in 2013, coming off last year's "Magic Mike" stripper blockbuster with a lauded role in the independent film "Mud." But he's still making big splashes, thanks to his "Dallas Buyers Club" turn, for which he lost an extreme amount of weight; and his upcoming "Wolf of Wall Street" supporting role with Leonardo DiCaprio. All three films may put him into awards contention this year.

"(He's) in a full-on 'McCona-ssance,'" said Hainey. "He's gone from that guy who played bongos naked to now, like, full-on leading man."

Will Ferrell has been popping up in viral situations for most of the year, playing a security guard at a Lakers game, playing with the USC marching band and bringing his kids to close out the Emmys, but in recent weeks all he's needed to do was show up to promote "Anchorman 2," which opens Dec. 20. 

Rapper Kendrick Lamar is the rising star of the bunch: He opened for Kanye West on tour this year, and MTV named him the No. 1 MC in the country right now. In 2012, his first major label album, "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City," debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts and was certified platinum in August. He also performed and helped write the tune "Love Game" on rapper Eminem's latest album, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," released earlier this month.

"He's the rapper who stole the crown this year," said Hainey of Lamar.

The inclusion of James Gandolfini is a tribute to the late "Sopranos" actor, but also a reminder that he was still doing very fine work up until his sudden death in June: His acting alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the independent film "Enough Said" has had some awards-season pundits discussing possible nominations this season.

GQ's Men of the Year issue goes on sale Nov. 19.