In the sacred order of the Hollywood Chrises — Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, and Chris Pratt — the best or most popular Chris is subject to change at any given moment. I’m personally permanently biased towards Pine (it’s the kind eyes and the stubble for me), but my interest in Evans and Hemsworth has also increased exponentially thanks to their extended roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But even as the top spots in the ranking fluctuate, one Chris remains steadfastly in the bottom spot. And the MCU clearly isn’t happy about it.
The Hollywood Chris ranking is based on many things, looks often influencing the reasoning for the placement. But when all of the men involved are somewhat good-looking, you have to start being a little more nuanced with your judgment. What kind of roles has he taken on? Is he a wife-guy? Does he connect well with his stars on and off screen? Does he have a dog? Does he wear cable-knit sweaters or accidentally share dick pics online? Does he support a church that has an observed history of homophobia?
In a recent internet poll about the Hollywood Chrises, Pratt once again came last in the rankings. In fact, the Guardians of the Galaxy actor was overwhelmingly voted the Hollywood Chris who most people could do without.
There were even some good suggestions for other famous men who could replace him in the order; Crazy Rich Asians’ Chris Pang was a strong contender as was The Mindy Project’s Chris Messina. The reasons for giving Pratt the boot ranged from everything to shade about his acting ability to (somewhat unfounded) theories that he is a Trump supporter to valid concerns about his support of a church that has been criticized for being anti-LGBT in the past.
Pratt is an active member of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, which is led by former Hillsong Church pastor Chad Veach. Years ago, the head of Hillsong Brian Houston shared that the church does “not affirm a gay lifestyle” or “knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership,” a statement that led to serious backlash globally. Last year, Ellen Page called out Pratt for possibly sharing the homophobic sentiment, and the actor fired back by claiming that Zoe Church “opens their doors to absolutely everyone.”
Several prominent members of the MCU took notice of the online discourse and decided to chime in from their mansions in the sky. Robert Downey Jr. suggested that the people participating in the rankings “delete [their] social media accounts,” Zoe Saldana shared a Tupac quote on Twitter to cheer her Guardians co-star on, and even Mark Ruffalo chimed in with a personal testimonial. Pratt’s wife Katherine Schwarzenegger was also quick to jump to his defense. Under E! News Instagram coverage of the conversation, the author penned a short note.
"Is this really what we need?" she wrote in the comment. "There's so much going on in the world, and people struggling in so many ways. Being mean is so yesterday. There's enough room to love all these guys. Love is what we all need, not meanness and bullying. Let's try that."
A few things here. Let’s start by clarifying that the Hollywood Chris rankings are generally harmless. Everyone has their faves as well as some people that they don’t care for, and we are allowed to like one Chris over the other for any reason, no matter how arbitrary; for example, Hemsworth's Thor: Ragnorak haircut moved him up to second place on my list, but Evans' gentlemanly escort of Regina King at the 2019 Oscars was powerful enough to bump him down to third. It's random! It's fun!
But even more importantly, why did the Avengers choose this “cause” to speak up for when they didn’t have the same energy for so many other people in the MCU, especially when several of their other co-stars were discriminated against and actually bullied?
When Idris Elba was cast to play Norse deity Heimdall in the Thor films, racist fans hit the Twitter streets to protest the god’s portrayal by a Black man because it wasn’t “canon.” Zendaya was also on the receiving end of similar anti-Blackness from MCU stans after being selected to star as Spider-Man’s love interest MJ. And we all remember how how certain comic book stans treated Brie Larson because of Captain Marvel — they hailed it “feminist propaganda” (gasp!) and even threatened to boycott the movie. Even outside of Marvel, Disney staples like John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran were pounded online just for appearing in Star Wars. So why didn't the Avengers assemble then?
Not liking Pratt because of his association to a church that has excluded queer people in the past is valid. Not liking Pratt because he/Star-Lord ruined the plot to defeat Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War is also valid. At the end of the day, these rankings are nothing compared the actual harassment that people of color within the MCU and Disney at large have faced for years — keep that same energy for them.