Iconic Roles is a look at some of the best performances in film and television by actors and actresses.
Hollywood’s handsome rogue star Ryan Gosling is back for some thrilling action. Following a four-year hiatus, Gosling returned to portray Court Gentry in The Gray Man. Gosling has a very long history with entertainment since making his debut in 1993’s The Mickey Mouse Club when he was barely 13. Since then, he’s moved to the big screen and acted in many unforgettable roles.
Here is a closer look at the best movie performances from Ryan Gosling.
The Notebook (2004)
When Nick Cassavetes adapted Nicholas Sparks’ romantic novel, Gosling was the natural choice for the leading actor. Although Cassavetes believed Gosling wasn’t “handsome” enough, the Canadian actor had quite a chemistry with his co-star, Rachel McAdams. Together, Gosling and McAdams portrayed the heartbreaking story of a couple who fell in love during World War II. The movie did well at the box office and allowed Gosling to showcase his potential in what became his breakout role. The cast included James Garner, Gena Rowlands, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly, Sam Shepard, and Joan Allen.
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Half Nelson (2006)
26-year-old Ryan Gosling put on one of his best performances as Dan Dunne, an addicted middle-school history teacher. Directed by Ryan Fleck, Half Nelson followed the relationship between Dan and one of his young students, Drey. The cast included Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie. Gosling’s efforts were rewarded with a nomination for the Best Actor Oscar, becoming one of the youngest nominees ever. It was one of the first times the Canadian actor displayed all his dramatic skills, proving that he can be quite a leading actor. Fans also appreciated the film, which ended up grossing almost $5 million at the box office, a pleasant surprise considering its minimal production budget.
In the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed adaptation of James Sallis’s 2005 novel of the same name, Gosling portrayed an unnamed stunt driver who falls in love with his lovely and shy neighbor, Irene. However, Irene’s ex-convict husband won’t let go of the mother of his child that easily. Drive also starred Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac, and Albert Brooks. The film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where Refn won the award for Best Director. It also received a nomination for Best Sound Editing at the Academy Awards. Drive ended its theatrical run grossing over $80 million at the box office and overcoming its $15-million production budget. Refn and Gosling would later team up again for 2013’s Only God Forgives.
The Big Short (2015)
In Adam McKay’s highly-praised drama, Gosling shared the stage with Steve Carell, Christian Bale, and Brad Pitt to tell the harrowing story of the 2007 housing market crash. Gosling portrayed Jared Vennett, a salesman who predicted the looming economic disaster. In addition to his performance, Gosling is remembered for narrating the story by breaking the fourth wall to explain economic concepts. After landing several Oscar nominations, the film took home the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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La La Land (2016)
The first collaboration between Gosling and Damien Chazelle resulted in one of the most enjoyable musicals in recent years. In the story, Gosling starred as a struggling jazz pianist whose life changes after meeting aspiring actress Amelia Dolan (Emma Stone). Gosling’s performance was rewarded with his second Academy nomination for Best Actor. La La Land piled up a plethora of Oscars, including Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography. The movie is also remembered for the notorious Oscars incident where the Academy incorrectly announced La La Land as Best Picture instead of the actual winner, Moonlight.