Why It's OK Ryan Gosling Wasn't Nominated for Best Actor

He may have had the best year of any actor in 2011, but Baby Goose wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Fair? Yes, actually.

5) Not Being Nominated Gives Him a Better Chance to Win

Well, not this year obviously. However, the credit he’s built up with three fine performances this year is only bolstered by the snub given him by the Academy. Think of it this way – if he were to be nominated for Drive, would anyone remember The Ides of March or Crazy, Stupid, Love in five years? I think not.

After all, do people remember James Franco for Howl or 127 Hours? Do they think of Chicago when John C. Reilly comes to mind, or Gangs of New York, The Hours, or The Good Girl, all of which came out the same year? Even Tom Cruise will forever be linked to Magnolia by his Oscar nod and not the better, more controlled performance in Eyes Wide Shut.

None of the above men have won an Oscar (yet – Tom will someday). They haven’t even earned a second nomination (granted it’s only been a year since Franco got his). Their first nominations seem to be prize enough.

Gosling now, can use the cred he’s built up from his terrific work as well as his public snubbing to win an Oscar the next time around. He’s got a nomination under his belt for Half Nelson in 2006, so there won’t even be a first-time jinx. He’s all set up from here on out. It’s just a matter of time.

4) This Year’s Field is Too Strong.

It would be one thing if Gosling lost out to last year’s crew, a rather forgettable lot of performances, but Baby Goose was trying to compete with some serious Hollywood players this year. Minus the token slot filled by a random foreign actor (this year taken by the deserving Demian Bichir), every other actor represents some form of Hollywood royalty.

Pitt and Clooney are obvious. No one messes with the A-listers when they bring their A-game. The same goes for Gary Oldman, who had to wait far, far, FAR too long for his first nod. Jean Dujardin, meanwhile, represents the Weinstein brothers and their infinite power in La La Land. I don’t mean to take anything away from his brilliantly nuanced performance, but he would have been the one hearing silence if Harvey had chosen not to throw his considerable weight behind The Artist.

Gosling had no such luck. Sure, Clooney carries plenty of weight and probably used a little of it to get his young star some votes for The Ides of March, but the Academy knew they could honor George for The Descendants and pay tribute to The Ides of March in other areas. Drive received far too much public backlash to be taken seriously in the “big” categories, and Crazy, Stupid, Love was a comedy, meaning no Oscar love ever. Tough break, Baby Goose.

3) He'd Probably Split the Vote With Himself.

We’ll never know for sure if this happened. Here’s what we do know – Baby Goose was put up for Best Actor for both Ides and Drive. Both films had their ardent supporters. Both performances were well received. Both even made close to the same amount of money (Ides earned about $5 million more).

So when it came time to vote for Best Actor, what were Academy members to do? Normally, they’re coached one way or the other because one or more of the above circumstances swayed strongly. If one movie got better reviews, support that. If one was more popular with the public, vote for that movie. Much like the rest of America, how could they be expected to decide without the sway of popular opinion?

2) He’ll Have Other Chances

Remember when I said it was just a matter of time? It may not be long. Gosling’s next picture, The Place Beyond the Pines, sounds like a mash up of this year’s movies. He’ll be playing a motorcycle stunt rider mixed up with two things: the wrong side of the law and a politician. Helmed by his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, Pines could easily snag an Oscar for its star.

Next, he reunites with his Drive director, Nicolas Wynding Refn, for Only God Forgives, a…well, an incredibly odd film you may have to see to believe. Finally, Baby Goose’s best shot at the gold comes in the star-studded depression-era drama, The Gangster Squad. His costars include Crazy, Stupid, Love costar Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Josh Brolin, Giovanni Ribisi, and Sean Penn. It’s already got a coveted October release date and plenty of early buzz.

The best part is all these films come out this year, so fans won’t have to wait long to see Baby Goose back on the big screen.

1) He Didn’t Deserve It.

Ok, I have to be honest with you. I love Ryan Gosling. I think he’s terrific in each and every one of his movies this year. But I wouldn’t have nominated him either. For anything. For as great a year as he had, not one of his performances is Top 5 for 2011.

Each turn serves their respective movies perfectly. Gosling is strong, intense, and calculating in Drive. He’s so cool he makes everyone else hot. Yet he, like the movie, never choose to go past that superficial shimmer. In The Ides of March, he pulls off both the doe-eyed innocence of a yet-to-be jaded politician while still providing the grizzled demeanor of a hard-working strategist. Then he flips those roles and it still works. Yet he doesn’t steal scenes from his A-list supporting cast, a requisite for Academy love. He simply provides the perfect give-and-take for his costars.

None of this should be taken as an insult in any way (at least not to Gosling). He understands so perfectly what each movie he works on wants to accomplish that his acting choices are perfectly honed to suit that ideal. He’s not being showy. He’s not begging for attention. He’s doing what actors should always do – be the best they can be in their part of the larger machine. Over the years, though, the Academy stopped looking for professionalism and started choosing the flashy, gimmicky crap that’s easy to point at and go, “Ooooh. Look at him ACT!”

That being said, if the Oscars were formatted like some critics awards where all the actor’s work in the previous year was considered instead of a singular performance, Gosling would be a shoo-in. Going three-for-three with two dramas and comedy is an incredibly difficult feat that Baby Goose made appear easy (and not just on the eyes watching him). It just wasn’t his year for the Oscar. It will be soon, though. Bet on it.

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