Cline: Examining the nominees for the Time magazine Top 100

Darrin Cline

Time magazine announced on March 29 the 200 nominees eligible to be selected for this year’s “100 Most Influential People.” Started in 1999 as a list to recognize the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, Time made the compilation an annual issue in 2004.

The list is broken down into five categories: leaders and revolutionaries, builders and titans, artists and entertainers, scientists and thinkers, and heroes and icons. The 20 most influential individuals (or small groups) from each area are then chosen to create the whole list.

This year’s early ballot is complete with some well deserved nominees and some questionable selections. There are the perennial power players — Oprah Winfrey, the Obamas, Nicholas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and George Clooney, as well as some quirky selections, like SNL stars Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen.

From world leaders to entertainers to athletes, here’s a look at some of the individuals who should be locks, and others that should not make it past the first cut.

Among those that should find a place on the list:

Social Media Innovators: Of course Mark Zuckerberg will make the list, but in the burgeoning social media scene, new trendsetters are continually popping up. Jack Dorsey from Twitter, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Erik Martin of Reddit, who currently leads all voters, are among the internet innovators to likely appear on the list.

Mustafa Abdel-Jalil: The acting Libyan president faces one of the toughest political and civil situations in the world. After being pushed into leadership role, the former judge has shown resiliency and the nation’s make or break state could rest on his shoulders.

Eike Batista and Danny Boyle: One is Brazilian tycoon and the other is most famous for directing “Slumdog Millionaire.” So what do they have in common? The Olympics. Batista used his billionaire fortune to help bring the Summer Olympics to South America for the first time ever; on the other side of the world, Boyle has used his artistic vision into designing the opening ceremonies for this summer’s game.

Chris Christie: Insert any “larger than life” pun. The falstaffian New Jersey governor is one of the biggest GOP names in the country. His stance on gay marriage leaves a lot to be desired, but his boisterous nature has already made him a top candidate for vice presidential candidate this year, or even presidential candidate in 2016.

Suzanne Collins: The writer of the “Hunger Games” series highlights the short list of authors on the list. Her work has created a cultural phenomenon. The books are New York Times bestsellers, and the movie has grossed more than $365 million globally.

Tim Tebow: Love it or hate it, Tebowmania is inescapable. Arguably the most famous athlete in America, the NFL back-up quarterback will reach new levels of stardom in New York. On the surface he may just be a football player, but he has been noted for his strong convictions and integrity, global service work and even gave us “Tebowing.”

Dieter Egli: Under the category of noteworthy work with little notoriety is Egli. A stem cell scientist with the skills to possibly clone a human someday, Egli is a leader in innovating treatments for Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease.

Sergio Marchionne: The bailout cast a dark shadow over the auto industry. Chrysler was one of the car makers doomed for failure, until Marchionne’s Fiat purchased the brand. Since then, the CEO has paid off all of Chrysler’s bailout loans and saved 40,000 jobs.

Salman Khan: Founder of the Khan Academy, the 35 year old education revolutionary has made it his goal to provide math and science education to anyone in the world. His non-profit company provides 3,000 online videos and a bounty of exercises to help people achieve excellence.

Individuals who should be left off the ballot:

Bashar Asad: Time points out that individuals can make the list for being influential, whether it is good or bad. The latter may help Asad make the list. The Syrian president has maintained his rule through threats and violence, and has resisted international pressure to allow more civic liberties and freedom in the Middle Eastern nation.

Sarah Burton: She designed the wedding dress for Kate Middleton.

Jessica Simpson: A number of pop stars made the list of 200, but Simpson may be the least deserving. While peers such as Shakira, with philanthropic endeavors in South America, have earned a claim to the top 100, Simpson seemingly lacks any meaningful potential.

Lana Del Rey: Who?

Eric Cantor: The House Majority leader has a lot of ground to make up before he can be considered. His efforts may deserve acknowledgement, but it’s hard to imagine any congressman being selected with the current nature of stalemate and stagnation in Congress

Roger Goodell: He rules a $9 billion industry and is doing everything he can to destroy it. Goodell has taken away the hitting and aggression that evokes so much passion in football. With the recent suspension levied against the Saints, Goodell is exhibiting signs of his power trip and determination to take away the essence of an empire.

Reed Hastings: Some people may want to give him a mulligan. The Netflix CEO made what could be considered the biggest business gaffe of 2011 by changing the company’s policy on DVD’s and streaming, which lead to higher prices for consumers. Though Hastings backed off the decision, the changes enraged subscribers and significantly damaged the company’s reputation and pocketbook.

Jason Russell: The pioneer behind the KONY 2012 campaign, Russell has become a polarizing figure in the past few months. While his cause is admirable, many skeptics are questioning his motives, believing that Russell is using the campaign for his own ego-driven, selfish desires. Additionally, a very public meltdown and arrest have cast a dark shadow.

Ryan Seacrest: American Idol is slowly fading, and so is Seacrest. His main contribution in the last year has prolonging and producing the Kardashian phenomenon. Seacrest out.

Readers can vote on the magazine’s website for which individuals they view as the most influential. Fan votes will be accepted until April 6, and the magazine will release their top 100 on April 17.