How to Be a Leading Man

Just in time for Valentine's Day and Oscar nominations, we honor the silver screen's best men -- guys who set the bar for how to treat a woman. And our awards go to . . .

Forget Oscar-nominated actors. Sure they can teach us about acting, but to learn how to be the kind of leading man a lady craves, we found a different bunch of characters to honor: the best movie boyfriends/husbands. Here are our picks for:  

Best Husband Ever

Paul, Julia Child’s husband (played by Stanley Tucci), Julie & Julia

He loved the hell out of his civil-servant-turned-culinary-icon wife -- even though it wasn't practical for older women to have second-act (or first-act) careers at the time. Even though she was as kooky as a baked Alaska. Even though she had, like, a good 6 inches and 20 pounds on him. Even though she didn't (maybe couldn't) give him children.

Follow the leading man:

Like Paul, be the best husband ever by looking past your differences and going with your heart.

Most Romantic Husband

Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner), Up

Carl, a widower, rigs up his old house with a million balloons (give or take about 900,000) so he can airlift it and pilot it to South America. The fearless act is all driven by sentiment, done in memory of his wife -- his best friend, fellow dreamer and inspiration -- to fulfill an aspiration they had during their whole life together.

Follow the leading man:

You’ll be the most romantic dude ever by following through with a crazy pipe dream you concocted with your better half.

Most Intense Boyfriend

Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), Twilight series

While some find Edward the vampire a little obsessive and almost stalkerish, the girls in the audience (and their moms) think he’s smoldering hot. The combination of dark, brooding and potentially dangerous yet tender makes him the Beauty and the Beast-type character we’ve seen throughout the centuries. Plus, not only must he work out like a bastard to look ripped for his Bella (though we never see him at the gym), he’s willing to sacrifice his entire happiness just to preserve her soul.

Follow the leading man:

Have your girl pine for you by working on your intense gaze and all-or-nothing attitude. (Bonus: Muscle up.)

Most Patient Boyfriend

Anton (Andrew Garfield), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

(Runners-up: the Bride Wars fiances, who put up with all kinds of bridezilla shenanigans.)

An actor in an impoverished traveling circus troupe, Anton tolerates living in squalor and being ridiculed by drunk audience members. Why? So he can be next to his secret love, 16-year-old Victoria (Lily Cole). Unfortunately, she has a penchant for bad boys (played by Hollywood’s finest: Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Heath Ledger and Colin Farrell). But have no fear! Patience wins when Victoria finally realizes bad boys are bad news and Anton is her true love.

Follow the leading man:

Why put up with subpar living conditions and wedding-day antics? In hindsight, she’ll interpret it as an indicator of your undying love.

Best Change of Heart

Stu Price (Ed Helms), The Hangover

Dentist Stu is a spineless masochist when it comes to his mean-spirited, snobby girlfriend, Melissa (Rachael Harris), who’s cornered him into marrying her. While in Vegas for a bachelor party, he meets the down-on-her-luck, sweet, doe-eyed escort Jade (Heather Graham), who also happens to be the mother of an infant. Cut to the ending: Stu leaves his shallow fiancee behind for the sweet, hot, single mom.

Follow the leading man:

This is the “Hail Mary pass” of the dating world -- scoring the win right before the clock runs out. It proves that, no matter how many cruel women you come across out there, you can still come across a princess who loves you. (Just leave out the escort part when introducing her to mom and dad.)

Best “Save” of a Relationship

Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), I Love You, Man

In the bromance I Love You, Man, Peter overhears his fiancee, Zooey (Rashida Jones), talking about how he doesn’t have any real male friends. Ideal fiance that he is, Peter tries to remedy this (and find a best man for the wedding in the process) by going on a series of painful, blundering “man dates.”

Follow the leading man:

The moral of the story? Sure she wants to be your everything, but she also wants you to be a well-rounded individual with your own friends and interests. It’s never too late to work on yourself.

Best PDA

Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), The Proposal

In The Proposal, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) is forced to get engaged to his bully boss, Margaret (Sandra Bullock), in her effort to avoid being deported to Canada. The plan unravels after many legal and familial complications, but Andrew finds himself falling for Margaret as he gets to know her better. He confesses his love for her in front of the entire office and proposes marriage just before the Department of Homeland Security whisks her back to Canuck-ville.

Follow the leading man:

Chicks love having an audience when it comes to professions of love. Whether you write it in the sky or get on one knee after a family dinner, remember: the more public bells and whistles, the better.

by Belisa Vranich