What the Pope, Edward Snowden, and Miley Cyrus Have in Common

Miley Cyrus: Person of the Year? Photo: Getty Images/FilmMagicMiley Cyrus, Edward Snowden, and the Pope walk into a bar … Funny already, right? Except that it’s actually not a joke that the trio, along with seven other hugely disparate candidates, have landed on Time magazine’s shortlist for Person of the Year. 

The highly eclectic lineup was announced Monday morning by managing editor Nancy Gibbs, providing both hope and fodder to folks on social media. “The fact that Miley is being considered for Time's Person of the Year makes me want to give up my status as a person,” noted one clearly annoyed Twitter user. But, wrote another: “Guess who made it? The always fabulous Edie Windsor! Fingers crossed she makes this cover.”

Below, please find a bit about each finalist, complete with each individual’s projected chances at winning (mathematical realities aside, natch):


Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria

A claim to fame: being accused by the U.S. of being the mastermind of a horrific chemical attack on his own people during a bloody civil war (just for starters).
Chances of winning: None (I mean, right?)

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder
A claim to fame:
hijacking last week’s news cycle by declaring on "60 Minutes" that his company would soon be delivering packages via drones, within minutes, and that his claim was not “science fiction.”
Chances of winning: At least 27.2%

Ted Cruz, Republican United States Senator From Texas
A claim to fame: having supporters hideous enough to slam him, with ugly vitriol, for (impressively) calling the late Nelson Mandela an “inspiration for defenders of liberty.”
Chances of winning:
About .9%

Miley Cyrus, Pop Singer
A claim to fame: Santa twerking
Chances of winning: 13%

Pope Francis, Leader of the Catholic Church
A claim to fame: praying aloud, appropriately, for the poor amidst the bustle of holiday shoppers going in and out of Dior, Prada, and Armani shops in Rome.
Chances of winning: Practically a (black, no-nonsense, 80-year-old cobbler-made) shoe-in

Barack Obama, President of the United States
A claim to fame: unending health-care reform drama
Chances of winning: 53%

Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran
A claim to fame: becoming the first leader of his country to speak with a U.S. President (Obama) since 1979.
Chances of winning: As high as 48%

Edie Windsor and Barack Obama. Photo: Bless Bless Productions via Facebook Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
A claim to fame: making strange bedfellows out of Rush Limbaugh and Jon Stewart, the latter of whom sparred with her on "The Daily Show," and accused her of lying to him about Obamacare.
Chances of winning: Considering the fact that a mere four women have won the title in 85 years? Grim.

Edward Snowden, N.S.A. Leaker
A claim to fame: Winning the Guardian’s person of the year Monday, beating out Pope Francis and Greenpeace activists.
Chances of winning: Way more than 1%

Edie Windsor, Gay rights activist
A claim to fame: She took on the Supreme Court and she won.
Chances of winning: Dire (see Kathleen Sebelius, above). But no matter: She’s $363,000 richer since overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.