Turns Out Including His Frequent Collaborator Emma Stone In ‘I’m Just Ken’ Was Ryan Gosling’s Idea, Plus More Behind-The-Scenes Info

If the 2024 Academy Awards proved anything, it was that movies are back! It’s taken a while following the COVID-19 pandemic for Hollywood to feel “normal” again, yet the ceremony showed that feature films are not only hot again but better than ever. The ceremony honored this year’s Oscar winners like Robert Downey Jr., and Cillian Murphy for Oppenheimer, as well as Emma Stone, who won Best Actress for her performance in Poor Things. And that wasn’t her only shining moment from the night. Stone was singled out during pal Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” performance, which felt like a sweet improvised moment. However, it turns out this was all part of a choreographed number that was thoroughly planned. 

Highlights from the “I’m Just Ken” Oscars performance were broken down by Variety, and it turns out, everything was very thought out by the Drive star. The trade reveals that, for months, the Academy had been speaking to the comedic actor, who worked with choreographer Mandy Moore to make the number as iconic as possible. A significant amount of the number was the leading man’s idea, including opening the number sitting behind co-star Margot Robbie. It seems it was also his idea to go over to the Easy A icon and have her sing into the mic as well, and he knew exactly what line he would approach her with. 

For context, during the performance the Ken actor turns the mics onto some of his fellow nominees in the crowd. He first goes over to Barbie‘s Margot Robbie, America Ferrera and director Greta Gerwig to sing with him. This is a great moment, as it highlights the women involved in the production and the true architects of the box office sensation that was Barbie. He then moves over to Emma Stone, who is standing in the front row. He turns the microphone over to her after singing the line “I’m just Ken” and she enthusiastically sings the line “And so am I,” before Gosling guides the steady-cam operator up the staircase to the stage. Gosling also kisses the hand of the cameraman, a move that was also planned by the actor.

Ryan Gosling performing "I'm Just Ken" at the Oscars featuring a moment with Emma Stone

(Image credit: ABC)

It was definitely fitting for Ryan Gosling to involve Emma Stone in the Oscars moment. While she was not involved in Barbie, she has been a major part of Gosling’s film career. They have done three movies together, including Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gangster Squad and La La Land. The two were both Oscar nominees this year, and the previous time they were both nominated was for their work on the aforementioned musical together in 2017. 

Emma Stone also won her first Oscar for La La Land, and the movie showcased Ryan Gosling’s musical ability, which he utilized again for Greta Gerwig’s fantasy film. Gosling used this moment in the performance not only to highlight the women behind the pink-tinted film, but the women that played a significant role in his career, making it even more special. 

On the surface, the song is somewhat ridiculous, acting as a big comedic moment in the hit 2023 film. However, with his Oscars performance, the Half Nelson made it more than this. He meticulously planned out the number, taking great care and inflicting meaning into something that could just be surface level. The performance of “I’m Just Ken” even references Marilyn Monroe, has meaningful cameos by major stars, and dishes out meta-commentary of Ryan Gosling’s career and the women like Emma Stone and Greta Gerwig who have lifted him up over the years. There’s definitely more to this Academy Awards performance than meets the eye, and I hope we learn even more BTS details on it as time goes on.

For those who may have missed it, you can check out the Oscars performance of “I’m Just Ken” on YouTube now. You can also see the song performed in Barbie, which is now streamable with a Max subscription. Fans additionally can revisit the actor’s previous musical cinematic performance alongside Emma Stone in La La Land, which you can rent now on Amazon

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