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How Ryan Gosling won the Oscars without actually winning an Oscar

At the 2024 Academy Awards show, Ryan Gosling managed a pretty incredible feat—winning the entire Oscars without taking home a single award with his performance of “I’m Just Ken.”

Throughout the show, the songs that were nominated for Best Original Song were performed, with two songs from “Barbie” bookending the night. Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas performed first, making everyone cry with the hauntingly gorgeous “What Was I Made For.” But it was Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” spectacle that had everyone laughing, singing along and wondering how on Earth we got to this iconic cultural moment.

Let’s face it—the entire idea of Ryan Gosling playing a classic Ken doll in a movie about Barbie sounded pretty goofy from the start. And yet the combined genius of the movie’s creators and Gosling’s abject refusal to phone in anything not only made it work, but earned the actor widespread praise and a nomination from the Academy for Best Supporting Actor. Throw in some cheesy-on-purpose songwriting and an over-the-top embrace of its own absurdity, and we get one of the greatest Oscar moments ever.

First of all, if you missed it (or just want to witness it again), here’s Gosling’s performance in all its sparkling pink glory:

Naturally, the standing ovation performance got people asking questions about “the man behind the tan,” and we’ve got answers:

Q: Who was the woman Ryan Gosling was sitting with, the one he put the cowboy hat on?

Gosling is married to actor Eva Mendes, but that woman sitting next to him definitely wasn’t her. It was actually Gosling’s sister, Mandi Gosling. Gosling and Mendes keep their relationship much more private than most celebrities and rarely make appearances together, even at major events like the Academy Awards. Gosling often brings his sister, with whom he has a close relationship, to accompany him on the red carpet.

(Mendes was there to support Gosling, however. She posted an Instagram standing outside his dressing room with the caption, “Always by my man.” But she wasn’t dressed in a designer gown and didn’t sit on the main floor with the other Hollywood stars. For some, their arrangement might seem strange, but it seems to work for them.)

Q: What’s the necklace that Gosling kissed during a camera close-up?

A: All signs point to the necklace he kissed being an “E” for his wife, Eva. (See? all good.) He wore a necklace that looked like the Barbie “B” but with an “E” instead at the “Barbie” movie premiere. A sweet little shout-out to his wife of 13 years and their two kids during the performance.

Q: Why did the staging of “I’m Just Ken” look familiar?

A: The pink sparkly suit, pink gloves and tuxedoed backup dancers wasn’t just a “Barbie” thing. The whole performance was an homage to Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” We could talk about the metaness of this staging choice for days, but suffice it to say it worked.

Ryan Gosling appeared to channel his inner Marilyn Monroe with a live performance of “I’m Just Ken” at the #Oscars that nodded to Monroe’s iconic “Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend” number in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”nnWatch the performance here: https://t.co/Ti89Xvjxnm

— (@)

Q: Was Ryan Gosling really singing or did he lip sync?

A: Oh, that was all him. You can tell by the minor imperfections here and there, which simply made it real and didn’t take away from the impressiveness of it all. Gosling’s easy charm, charisma and comfort on stage are really something to witness, and frankly he put on a better performance than a lot of actual singers do when they perform live.

Q: Has Ryan Gosling always been this engaging as a stage performer?

A: Well, yeah, pretty much. The Canadian actor got his start young, being recruited by Disney as a Mouseketeer all the way back in 1993. Enjoy this little historical tidbit of adorable little Ryan Gosling from the CBC:

Some people are born with the gift to entertain, and that certainly seems to be the case with Ryan Gosling. Not to take anything away from his hard work, of course, but it’s the dedication to craft combined with that all-elusive X factor that makes a genuine superstar, and Gosling just keep on proving that he’s got it all.

Source: Upworthy
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