Ryan Gosling’s career has taken him from a romantic lead to a cross-genre, award-winning actor, making him one of the most acclaimed stars of his generation. After starting out as a child actor in the ’90s in shows like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Gosling moved over to the big screen with his first notable role coming in Remember the Titans in 2000. Since then, Gosling has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, and his accolades include two Academy Award nominations, a Golden Globe win, a BAFTA nomination, and two Saturn Award wins among others.
Gosling’s success is built around great performances that allow smaller budget movies to succeed. He blossomed from a romantic leading man into a bonafide movie star who can carry major action or sci-fi films. It’s telling that he’s a big star despite not Gosling not being in major franchises like MCU or Star Wars. Unlike a lot of other top names in Hollywood, Gosling has mostly stayed out of the public spotlight, keeping his personal life private and avoiding scandal, which has helped his mass appeal and popularity. Not many actors can boast the kind of resumé that Gosling has put together.
11 The Nice Guys (2016)
Acclaimed director Shane Black worked with Gosling and Russell Crowe to make The Nice Guys, an action-comedy that follows Gosling’s private investigator Holland March and Crowe’s enforcer Jackson Healy, who work together to find a missing teenage girl in 1977. Though the premise isn’t overly original, Black’s signature action sequences and sharp screenwriting made for a well-received film. The Nice Guys flopped at the box office grossing just $62.7 million on a budget of $50 million (Box Office Mojo) but it holds a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Gosling’s performance landed him a Critics’ Choice nomination though he lost to Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool.
10 First Man (2018)
In First Man, Gosling took on his first biographical role by playing Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the Moon. The film is a tense biographical drama that focuses on the years leading up to the initial Apollo 11 mission. First Man only brought in $105.7 million on a $70 million budget (Box Office Mojo), yet was boosted by its 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The pairing of Gosling and talented director Damian Chazelle proved to be a powerful duo once more after first working together on La La Land. Gosling’s performance as Armstrong earned him another Critics’ Choice nomination for Best Actor but Christian Bale won for Vice.
9 The Big Short (2015)
In The Big Short, Gosling is part of an incredible ensemble cast. The film focuses on the financial crisis of the late 2000s triggered by the United States housing bubble. but tells the story in a satirical way. Gosling plays Jared Vennett, a salesman based on Greg Lippmann, who uses the crisis for his own profit. Satire master Adam McKay was nominated for Best Director at the Oscars but lost to Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant. McKay made a difficult-to-understand topic accessible for every viewer by mixing in fourth-wall breaks and comedic elements. The Big Short did take home an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
8 Half Nelson (2006)
Gosling broke through in the independent drama Half Nelson where he plays Dan Dunne, a middle school teacher who befriends a student after they learn about his troubled history of drug use. His performance earned him his first Academy Award nomination at just 26 years of age, making him the eighth-youngest to do so, with Jackie Cooper being the youngest at nine years old. Although Best Actor was the only Oscar nomination Half Nelson secured, it does hold a high 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is at 85% on Metacritic. Gosling did get some glory, as he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead.
7 Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Crazy, Stupid, Love. saw Gosling share the screen with Emma Stone for the first time, which they went on to do again in Gangster Squad and La La Land. The comedy film follows the intertwining romantic lives of several people, with Gosling playing a womanizer named Jacob Palmer who helps Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), a man going through a divorce and ends up falling in love with his daughter Hannah (Stone). Crazy, Stupid, Love. was both a critical and commercial success, grossing $145 million (Box Office Mojo) and Gosling was nominated for a Golden Globe (losing to Jean Dujardin for The Artist) as he was able to hold his own opposite a comedy legend like Carell.
6 Lars And The Real Girl (2007)
In the comedy-drama Lars and the Real Girl, which premiered and impressed at the Toronto International Film Festival, Gosling plays the titular protagonist, a socially awkward man who develops a nonsexual yet romantic relationship with a doll he finds on the internet. After being nominated for an Oscar for Half Nelson, this was Gosling’s follow-up, earning him a Golden Globe nomination which lost to Johnny Depp for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Lars and the Real Girl was up for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, losing to Juno, and holds an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes to go along with a 7.3/10 on IMDb.
5 The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook is a tender Nicholas Sparks adaptation, in which Gosling plays Noah, one half of a couple who fall in love over the course of several years in the 1940s. The story is framed as being told by an elderly man to a fellow nursing home patient. It grossed over $118 million (Box Office Mojo) and has become a pop culture staple, as The Notebook has been hailed as one of Gosling and co-star Rachel McAdams’ most romantic movies. Fans continue to watch it repeatedly to this day despite the mixed reviews and 53% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Gosling won two Teen Choice Awards for Male Actor and Movie Breakout Performance.
4 Blue Valentine (2010)
The drama Blue Valentine tells a heart-wrenching story of the ups and downs of a couple from courtship to marriage and all the way through divorce. Gosling portrays Dean Pereira, a character charming in the romance’s early days and unlikable at its end. While it was his co-star Michelle Williams who ended up nominated for an Oscar, losing to Natalie Portman for Black Swan, Gosling was again up for a Golden Globe and Satellite Award, falling short of Colin Firth in The King’s Speech at both shows. The 86% Rotten Tomatoes rating for Blue Valentine is one of the highest in Gosling’s career.
3 Drive (2011)
2011 was a banner year for Gosling, including appearing in George Clooney’s The Ides of March, but his most acclaimed role was as the unnamed protagonist in Drive. His first of two collaborations with director Nicolas Winding Refn (along with Only God Forgives), Drive centers on Gosling’s stuntman and getaway driver who protects his neighbor after he and her husband botch a heist. It was Gosling’s first true action role and he proved he could carry a film in the genre as his performance earned him the second Satellite Award victory of his career, after Lars and the Real Girl.
2 Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Before appearing in Netflix’s The Gray Man, the most expensive film Gosling starred in was Blade Runner 2049. Joining the Harrison Ford-led movie franchise made it the only series he’s been a part of. The sci-fi epic was a box office disappointment, bringing in just $267 million (Box Office Mojo) but sits at 8.0/10 on IMDb. Gosling plays K, a bioengineered humanoid who hunts and retires older models, and the humanity he brought to the role landed him another Saturn Award nomination, though he lost to Mark Hamill in The Last Jedi. Blade Runner 2049 also won two Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects,
1 La La Land (2016)
The first collaboration between Gosling and Chazelle came in the musical La La Land, which also teamed Gosling back up with his co-star Stone. They respectively play Sebastian Walker and Amelia Dolan, a jazz musician and actor who fall in love in Los Angeles. Even though La La Land‘s ending is polarizing, it was a massive commercial success, raking in $472 million (Box Office Mojo) and tied a record with 14 Oscar nominations. That included a Best Actor nod for Ryan Gosling, who lost to Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea. Meanwhile, Stone and Chazelle won in the Best Actress and Director categories.