When it comes to picking out an actor and saying that he is truly great or even the best, what do you look for? Do you look for the amount of money they bring to the Box-Office? Do you look for the physicality needed in the role? What about their track record of critically acclaimed films? I look at all these things and much more. What I want to see from an actor I deem “The Greatest” in any category includes what I just mentioned, but also goes much deeper. I look for an actor to bring me into a movie and for me to experience what they are experiencing. I want to be transported into each scene with them- and in my eyes no young Hollywood actor does this better than Ryan Gosling.
I remember the very first time I saw Gosling on screen. No it wasn’t in one of those Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes on Nickelodeon, but in the movie Remember the Titans. Portraying a happy-go-lucky teammate at the newly integrated T.C. Williams High, I knew then he would have a very promising career ahead of him (If you’ve forgotten, check out his locker room dance moves via Youtube). While this was his first recognizable role in a film, it was 2 years later in The Believer where he plays a Jewish Neo-Nazi in an incredibly raw and electric performance that blew me away. Although some may have thought this would be the peak of his career, it was merely a taste of things to come.
Like most handsome AF actors, they will do at least one Rom-Com, if not a few and Gosling is no different. It was two years after The Believer where he starred in one of his most well-known performances, playing Noah from The Notebook. In a genre that is difficult to do well in, mainly for the infinite amount of clichés and predictability, Gosling’s talents always seems to shine. While The Notebook, by no means is Citizen Kane, it’s his acting that helps set the movie apart from many of its contemporaries. In the film adaption of this Nicholas Spark’s novel, Gosling is heartwarming, emotional, and captivating. His performance alone, is what had me emotionally invested from start to finish. And that is what makes Ryan so special.
After 2004 his impressive resume only builds with the likes of; Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. All of which were either critical successes or box-office breadwinners. As excellent as these films and his portrayals were, it was in 2011’s Drive that truly made him a favorite among film critics and enthusiasts around the world. Already considered a cult classic, here, Gosling masters the art of control, restrain, and poise.
Speaking of the art of restrain, this is an underrated ability that many of us film viewers take for granted. While a lot of people assume it’s to be dull and emotionless, it is quite the opposite; restrain means tension, it means intensity, and it means a complete visual experience when the restrain is released. Gosling’s knack for this skill is put on display in the film The Place Beyond the Pines and in his most recent movie Blade Runner 2049. Both characters are brilliant examples of how he perfectly controls his emotion through his physicality and body language.
Another thing about the man whose the main focus of this article. He consistently convinces you to care about situations you otherwise would have no interest at all in. A contributor to this will always be excellent writing, yes, but without execution, one’s screenplay will simply go to waste.
Ex: His part in The Big Short and his Oscar nominated performance in La La Land. Through his characters in these two films, it’s his passion that helps bring the audience on an emotional ride and experience. Because of his constant ability to maintain the right amount of emotion per role, he has continued to separate himself from other young actors throughout Hollywood. 2 Oscar nominations, 3 Golden Globe nominations and 1 win later, something tells me he’s not finished collecting hardware just yet. The sky is the limit for Gosling, and by judging his most recent performances, it only seems like he’s getting better.
Jake Gyllenhaal, Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac, Miles Teller, Paul Dano, Michael B. Jordan.
Contribution by Nick Weninger