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MoviesRyan Gosling’s Oscar Problem

selfseriousnessFebruary 26, 2019

On a Thursday October evening back in 2017, walking out of a screening of Blade Runner 2049, I felt gutpunched and gitty after seeing what was one of the best films of that year, if not the best.

I immediately prayed and prayed that it would be a hit with audiences. Maybe it even could propel itself towards above the line Oscar nominations in Best Picture, Best Director, and maybe even one or two of the acting categories, especially for Ryan Gosling. The film bombed with audiences, making back $90 million of its $150 million dollar budget. It would end up receiving five below the line Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Production Design, winning Visual Effects and Cinematography.

On a Friday afternoon back in October of last year, walking out of a screening of First Man, I once again felt gutpunched and crying after what was one of the best films of that year, if not the best, I once again prayed and prayed that it would be a hit with audiences, and maybe even propel itself towards above the line Oscar nominations in Best Picture, Best Director, and maybe even one or two of the acting categories, especially for Ryan Gosling. The film bombed with audiences, making back $44 million of its supposed $60 million dollar budget. It received four below the line Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Production Design, winning Visual Effects. 

While the similarities between both film are immediate, they would also continue below the surface. Both films starred Ryan Gosling as a very different men both dealing with internal struggles stemming from their respective pasts. However, neither of them struck box office or Oscar gold, only becoming beloved by critics and film fans. This only exemplified something that has become more and more apparent over time: Ryan Gosling may very well not be as big of a bonafide movie star as we think. None of his films aside from La La Land, a cultural force, have made over $100 million dollars at the box office. He’s only a two time Oscar nominee, and most viewers surely only know him based on the strength of his romantic films like La La Land, The Notebook, and Crazy, Stupid Love.

It’s not hard to understand why First Man and Blade Runner 2049 failed at the box office, as Blade Runner 2049 was a near 3 hour long arthouse film that did not earn strong audience reception, and First Man was plagued with controversy after Marco Rubio decided to tweet about how it treated Neil Armstrong’s legacy poorly (because of course he did). While both films unfortunately didn’t get their fair due from audiences or the Academy, but in years time, we all know his films will be found in the cinematic language of the future.


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One comment

  • Jade

    February 27, 2019 at 10:06 AM

    Most of Gosling’s good films are a hard sell for mainstream audiences. And his performances are often understated, a disadvantage when pit against the typical Oscar baits. But I do think the Oscars mean very little when it comes to the calibre of an actor or film. I mean, actors like Guy Pearce are still waiting for their first nomination!

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