What's your favorite Ryan Gosling performance? Take the EW poll!


Image Credit: Davi Russo

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching the Crazy Stupid Love trailer ad nauseum since it was released back in April. What more could you ask for in a preview: It has the perfect balance of humor (Twilight jokes!) and heart and, of course, a too-good-to-be-photoshopped body courtesy of one Ryan Gosling.

Of course, my love affair with Gosling started long before he took off his shirt immediately upon Emma Stone’s request (Note to self: Learn that skill.) The handsome Canuck caught my attention with his role as creepy teen Richard in 2002’s otherwise so-so Murder By Numbers. (Did anyone else just suddenly remember that he and co-star Sandra Bullock used to date?! Crazy!) Since then, I’ve been a true blue Gosling fan, from his turn as Noah, the ultimate dreamboat, in the infinitely re-watchable sap-fest The Notebook (thanks for showing it three times a day every Saturday, Oxygen!) to his Oscar-nominated turn as Dan, a drug-addicted high school teacher in the gritty Half Nelson. But nothing quite solidified Gosling’s place in my heart as the best actor of my generation quite like his heartbreaking work as Dean in last year’s gut-wrenching Blue Valentine. The actor effortlessly transitions from sweet, in-love Brooklynite to a married, suburban former shell of himself. If you don’t find a place in your heart for Dean when, while working for a moving company, he helps decorate a widowed vet’s room at a nursing home, well then, you’re colder than ice.

But, I’m curious as to what you’re favorite Ryan Gosling role is, PopWatchers. As we here at EW continue to count down to the release of Crazy Stupid Love, in theaters July 29, we want you to pick what you think is Gosling’s best work to date. Did you fall for him for his romantic characters Blue Valentine or The Notebook? Was it his turn as the sweet, but emotionally damaged Lars in Lars in the Real Girl that won you over or do you prefer when he plays debonair, like Willy, the district attorney he played in Fracture? Or, have you been a fan since his much earlier performances (heck, even those Mickey Mouse Club days), like his turns in films like The Believer or Remember the Titans? Take the poll below and vote on your favorite Gosling performance!

Read more:
All About Ryan Gosling
‘Crazy Stupid Love’ trailer features naked Ryan Gosling
All-time best movie kiss: Does anything even come close to ‘The Notebook’?

Comments (121 total) Add your comment
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  • D

    What about when he was Young Hercules?!

    • Iron

      Yes, loved Young Hercules!

    • Ryan

      I was just going to say the same thing!

    • Julius

      Ditto! ….damn those shows were cheesy good.

    • Teri

      I have love him since Breaker High. No matter what he’s in, he’s still Sean to me.

      • Deb

        I totally agree! I still remember him from the MMC, but for me, I also associate him with Breaker High! He is fantabulous! Us Canadians do have some decent Ryan(s), don’t we?!

      • Leslie

        Agreed! Breaker High, baby!

      • Aol

        Sean in Breaker High, he stood out early.

      • Amanda

        Completely agree! Gosling circa Breaker High, it’s still the first thing I think of when someone mentions him to me. He was one of my favourites in that series.

      • Lovitz

        DITTO! Loved him and Jimmy in Breaker High.

      • Rosie

        Nah nah, nah nah nah, hey hey! Carry me away!

    • deee

      YES Young Hercules! my first celebrity crush and I was 10 :) Between that Breaker High and Remember the titans I already knew he IS a big deal. Then completely impressed me when he did The Believer. He can do wrong imo..

  • tracy bluth

    Half Nelson, definitely.

  • CKL

    Other: Breaker High!!

    • Dyana

      Yes! Breaker High was amazing! Well, just him, really.

    • avenger

      Breaker High was when I first saw him, that show sucked lol but he was cuuute

    • Hilaryy

      Breaker High for sure! I fell in love with him as Sean Hanlon, and have loved him ever since!

    • laylagalise

      Yes! As cheesed as that show was I loved, loved Sean (and Jimmy)!

    • Victoria

      Ooooh man, I thought I was the only one to remember that show.. Loved him on that! My absolute favorite. Still slightly bitter that I couldn’t go to Breaker High as a student.

  • Julie Cooper-Nichol

    Breaker High. It was Saved by the Bell at Sea. He played a thug!

  • PJ

    None of the above.

  • DTO

    It’s a toss-up between his roles in THE BELIEVER and BLUE VALENTINE, though I also enjoyed him sparring verbally with Hopkins in FRACTURE, which was quite good for a formulaic legal thriller.

  • jennifer

    this poll won’t be accurate, since most haven’t seen his indy films, only the Notebook… Half Nelson was by far one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.

    • crispy

      I’ve seen most of his indie films… but I still pick The Notebook!

    • tnsmoke

      I agree. I have found the best movies not on HBO etc. but on the indy film channels like IFC and Sundance. Amazing how he was rail thin for Half Nelson then beefed up and looked like a doughboy for Lars. Amazing actor.

    • StewyFan

      Yep, seen most of his films, still have to go with The Notebook. It was his breakthrough performance that took everyone by surprise and catapulted his career. Plus, he was just phenomenal in it.

    • Mr. Holloway

      Yeah, he’s brilliant in his indie work, but that doesn’t mean that you should understate the Leading Man star power he displayed in “The Notebook.”

  • Robyn

    any of his appearances on ellen! teaching ellen how to salsa! riding a bike in a onesie!

    • tnsmoke

      Ryan is on Letterman tonight.

      • tlb


      • Laura

        I REALLY need to get a DVR :(

  • Sara

    what about how awesomely creepy he was in All good things?

    • Mellissa

      Yeah, he totally creeped me out in that movie. Too the point that I forgot I had a crush on him.

  • Stella

    Love him in everything he does! Noah will always be my favourite performance though. Brings me to tears every single time! And just to be totally shallow for a second he really is one of the hottest actors out there today. Between Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling, can we Canadians export them or what?

    • Karate Pants

      If you want credit for the Ryans Reynolds and Gosling, then you’ll have to go ahead and claim Justin Bieber and Avril Lavigne too.

      • Michelle


      • Mellissa

        Don’t forget claiming Celine Dion and Bryan Adams as well.

      • Tea

        Big country, small population. We have a lot of success per capita!

  • Alli

    Def Lars and the Real Girl. That story could have gone creepy fast but Ryan played it so perfectly innocent that you just fell in love with this sweet young man.

    • kop

      Completely agree! I absolutely loved him in that movie, and he played that character so well that I actually teared up when she got sick. :)

    • Anonymous

      I completely agree. The movie depended on his performance, and he pulled it off perfectly. I haven’t seen Half Nelson, however, but I definitely want to. He just brings this sincerity to every role that can’t be faked.

    • no cars go

      agree also. i love half nelson i really do but there was something so endearing about lars i have to pick that. he had me the second he threw the flower away awkwardly instead of giving it to margo when she says hi to him. you’re right alli, it could have gotten strange but ryan made the character beautiful.

    • tnsmoke

      And the bonus features on the dvd where he does an inteview with the “Bianca” is a hoot, especially when he pretends they have a fight and he storms off.

    • Lindsay

      Ryan Gosling completely made Lars and the Real Girl. Definitely my favorite by him- although Fracture and Remember the Titans (his dancing in the locker room!) are close.

    • Kacey

      Definately Lars and the Real Girl but loved Blue Valentine too…I am looking forward to Crazy Stupid Love!

  • amy777

    half nelson, all the way

  • Karate Pants

    Not sure if I’m allowed to even feel this way or admit it, but I just wasn’t emotionally ravaged and wowed by Blue Valentine. It was…okay. And I feel the same way about Gosling for that matter, but I did love him in the Notebook.

    • crispy

      I HATED Blue Valentine. If I wanted to watch a relationship unravel, I’d go home for the holidays. And honestly, someone refusing to have shower sex with Ryan Gosling stretches the limits of believability.

      • alan of montreal

        then why did you go see the film if you didn’t want “to watch a relationship unravel,” as you claim? That was the entire premise of the film, and that’s how it was promoted–didn’t you know what you were about to see before you paid for your ticket?

    • Jessica

      I felt the same way. I didn’t understand why people were so blown away by that movie.

      • mackey3000

        ‘Cuz it was a phenomenal, devastatingly authentic portrayal of a relationship crumbling, and Gosling gave the best performance of the year (male OR female) as Dean.

      • StewyFan

        I would have to go with mackey on this one. But to each their own.

    • Karate Pants

      LOL, crispy! Well put.
      I am relieved to know there ARE, in fact, others who are willing to admit Blue Valentine just didn’t live up to the hype.

      • XanderLJ

        To YOU, clearly it did to MOST who actually saw it. Most didn’t, only reason he didn’t nab a nomination (Williams got in ‘cuz Best Actress was an open field).

      • crispy

        Oh, really, you polled everyone who saw that movie? Some people get so sensitive when you don’t like their favorite movie. You’re as bad as Bieber fans.

      • Karate Pants

        XanderLJ, I’m not really sure how many people loved it as much as the critics did, but I know I wasn’t blown away.
        It reminds me of having an honest discussion about “Precious” with friends. That movie garnered critical acclaim and its actors professional respect…but I and so many I’ve talked to thought it was so ridiculously over-the-top that it was laughable rather than touching.

    • XanderLJ

      Gosling is THE finest actor of his generation, hands down!! His only competition for that title, ironically, was Heath Ledger. His work in BLUE VALENTINE (performance of the year!!) and HALF NELSON (again!!) is as effortlessly brilliant & authentic as any acting this decade. 15 years from now (maybe less), he will be widely acknowledged & accepted by his generation, the way Sean Penn is by his, as its finest actor.

      • crispy

        So what you’re saying is Michelle Williams should be a casting director.

      • Mandy

        Couldn’t agree more about the Heath Ledger comment. Those two were a toss up for best actor of this generation. Such talent! Would have loved to see them act together.

      • tnsmoke

        I pretty much posted the same thoughts about an hour before you, so, great minds think alike…ha.

      • L

        He is the greatest of his generation. This is EW so of course the poll picks The Notebook, but Ryan shines in independent cinema.

  • StewyFan

    It is a close tie between Dean, Noah and his All Good Things role. But nothing can beat Noah for me. He is took adorable and beautiful in that film, and breaks my heart every time.

    • Garrett

      thanks i was waiting for the all good things role best movie of the year last year and no one knew about it.

    • tnsmoke

      I love James Garner and especially have loved Gena Rowlands for years, but I felt their parts of the movie bogged it down. I wanted the whole movie to be about Noah and Ali when they were young. The ending with them young wasn’t long enough for an emotional payoff. Still great movie.

      • Karate Pants

        What??? Their parts bogged it down?

  • Avie

    Half Nelson was his strongest performance, but to me his best movie was Lars and the Real Girl. I think Peter Jackson made a huge mistake firing him from The Lovely Bones.

    • emma

      Same here. Half Nelson was his best performance, and he looked smokin hot in it but Lars was my favorite movie of him. Also he makes The Notebook extremely rewatchable.

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