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Ryan Gosling Initially Said ‘100% No’ to ‘I’m Just Ken’ Oscars Performance: ‘There’s a Lot of Ways That Could Go Wrong’

The "Fall Guy" actor also told Jimmy Fallon which "SNL" big landed him in Barbieland.

Ryan Gosling performs 'I'm Just Ken' from "Barbie" onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Ryan Gosling performs 'I'm Just Ken' from "Barbie" onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Ryan Gosling absolutely crushed it as this year’s Academy Awards. The triple-threat superstar’s “I’m Just Ken” performance was a song-and-dance tour de force… which almost didn’t happen. On Thursday night (April 11) Gosling revealed to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that if he’d had his way the Barbie showstopper would have died in the pitch phase.

“The level of pressure on there… when the Oscars asked you to perform, they call you and they go, ‘Would you want to do ‘I’m Just Ken?” Do you immediately go, ‘Yeah, I have to do this!’ Or no?”


“100% no,” Gosling fired back. “There’s a lot of ways that can go wrong.” The always enthusiastic Fallon then proceeded to gush about how amazing the performance was, rattling off the guests — Slash, Mark Ronson — and then reading some of the glowing reviews calling it one of the best Oscar’s spots in years.

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Gosling told Fallon that his two daughters, 7 and 9, with partner Eva Mendes came to the rehearsals for the Oscars and their non-plussed take was: “Dad’s Kenning again.” In fact, he said, it was his kids’ interest in Barbie and complete disinterest in Ken that convinced him to do the movie. “It’s really been a team effort and they were on the film and they came to set when I filmed the number,” Gosling said. “But it’s also been like a lot of this has no context for them. It’s just like a lot of fake tan stains around the house.”

So, he invited them to the Oscars dress rehearsal to give them some context for what had been going on with the movie, since they’d never been to a big concert or one of his events before. “But they know all the choreography better than I do and the songs,” he said, demonstrating how his girls would show him the proper moves backstage between shots.

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Gosling, who is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend for the third time — with musical guest Chris Stapleton — also revealed that Barbie director Greta Gerwig realized he was her Ken thanks to one of his most absurd previous SNL bits on “Weekend Update.”

The 2017 sketch was called “Guy Who Just Joined Soho House,” and the line that proved he had the right Kenergy for the job was “Aye, aye, Capt. Blackout reporting for booty!” “Who would have thought that Greta Gerwig was watching that going like, ‘That’s my Ken,'” Gosling laughed.

Gosling stars in the big screen reboot of 1980s stunt man TV series The Fall Guy, due in theaters on May 3.

Watch Gosling on The Tonight Show below.

This article was first published by Billboard U.S.

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Tom Cochrane
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Tom Cochrane

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