Ryan Gosling Was Dead Set against I'm Just Ken Oscars Performance, Here's Why

Ryan Gosling Was Dead Set against I'm Just Ken Oscars Performance, Here's Why
Image credit: Legion-Media

The actor wasn't really excited to be 'Kenning' again.


  • Ryan Gosling was unwilling to perform I'm Just Ken at the Oscars.
  • This year's Academy Awards weren't exactly kind to Greta Gerwig's Barbie.
  • Despite being an experienced actor, Ryan Gosling was nervous about performing in front of a live audience.

The 96th Academy Awards may have been over five weeks ago, but Oppenheimer's landslide victory and Ryan Gosling's powerful performance of his famous musical number from Barbie are still fresh in our minds. The live version of I'm Just Ken captivated the Oscars' stellar guests and millions of viewers watching at home.

Ryan Gosling, who played the lead role of Ken in Greta Gerwig's pink-tinged comedy, dazzled the audience with his vocals, rhinestone-studded magenta suit and stunts. The overall look of the performance was heartwarmingly reminiscent of Busby Berkley's elaborate musical numbers. Mark Ronson and Slash's musical cameos, as well as the other Kens' appearances, were pleasantly surprising. As a result, Gosling's I'm Just Ken performance received many positive reviews. But it turns out that the actor was extremely reluctant to perform at the Oscars in the first place.

The Academy vs Barbie

Although Ryan Gosling's performance was one of the highlights of this year's Oscars, there was a lot of chutzpah surrounding the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' treatment of Greta Gerwig's Barbie prior to the ceremony. Despite its financial and critical success and popularity with audiences around the world, the highest-grossing film of 2023 received only a handful of Oscar nominations, with star Margot Robbie and the director not nominated in their respective categories.

In the end, Barbie won a single Oscar in the Best Original Song category for Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell's What Was I Made For? Although nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Ryan Gosling did not take home the coveted award, losing to Oppenheimer's Robert Downey Jr. And it seems that the whole situation may have led to Gosling's reluctance to sing I'm Just Ken at the ceremony, but that was not the case.

An Unlikely Case of Stage Fright

During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Ryan Gosling and the host chatted about the I'm Just Ken performance at the Academy Awards. When Fallon asked the Barbie actor if he'd been excited to accept the invitation to sing live in front of celebrity guests and the world, Gosling gave a very unexpected answer.

'100% no!,' Ryan Gosling said.

The reason the actor wasn't all for it, though, was that he was worried about performing live.

'There's a lot of ways that can go wrong,' Gosling explained.

In the end, however, the actor agreed and even brought his daughters to the rehearsal. Interestingly, their presence made him even more anxious.

'They know all the choreography better than I do. And the songs. Oh, my God, they're backstage kind of, like, showing me [the moves].' Ryan Gosling revealed.

Fortunately, the performance went off without a hitch. But more importantly, the Academy got to see who they were missing out on.

Source: YouTube.

Do you think Ryan Gosling should have won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor instead of Robert Downey Jr.?