Performers of the Week: Ryan Gosling and Scarlett Johansson

THE PERFORMER | Ryan Gosling

THE SHOW | The 2024 Oscars

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THE SONG | ‘I’m Just Ken

THE PERFORMANCE | Ken is used to taking a backseat to Barbie, but Gosling took center stage at this year’s Oscars ceremony, blowing the roof right off the Dolby Theatre with a hilariously impassioned performance of his nominated Barbie song “I’m Just Ken.” Decked out in sunglasses and a bejeweled pink suit, Gosling had a crowd full of Hollywood luminaries in the palm of his pink-gloved hand as he crooned Ken’s lament about constantly being outshined by Barbie: “I’m just Ken/Anywhere else, I’d be a 10.”

Gosling proved he’s a true triple threat — he is an alum of The Mickey Mouse Club, after all — singing and dancing along with dozens of Kens while effortlessly slipping right back into his Ken character. (He even karate-chopped a couple of wooden boards!) The deliriously fun performance captured what made Barbie so entertaining on the big screen, and it even had us thinking that the Oscars should feature more actors in character recreating their nominated roles. Thank you, Ryan Gosling, for making the Oscars must-see TV again. On this night, you were more than Kenough.

THE PERFORMER | Scarlett Johansson

THE SHOW | Saturday Night Live

THE EPISODE | Season 49, Episode 14 (March 9, 2024)

THE PERFORMANCE | SNL’s politically themed cold opens have been a decidedly mixed bag in recent years, but Johansson breathed new life into them this week with her wickedly funny impression of Alabama senator Katie Britt’s terrifyingly intense State of the Union response. We all knew SNL would take a swipe at Britt, but Johansson’s take surpassed even our lofty expectations, with a sly twinkle in her eye as she introduced us to “the craziest bitch in the Target parking lot.”

Johansson specializes in skewering polished conservative women on SNL — see: Ivanka Trump — and she perfectly channeled Britt’s frenzied delivery, predicting doom and gloom with a smile from her family kitchen. Johansson mixed girlish giggles with tear-choked fearmongering as Britt, even getting “weirdly seductive for no apparent reason” at one point. It was SNL’s sharpest political satire in months, thanks to Johansson’s savage parody. Britt’s speech was roundly criticized as one big performance… but Johansson artfully transformed it into a great one.

Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…



Nothing about Kat’s reunion with her missing brother Jacob has gone according to plan on The Way Home. But all the turmoil gave star Chyler Leigh a knockout scene in the last episode. Overcome by Jacob’s declining health just when she’d finally found him, Kat stormed down the windy shore, ally Thomas following behind her. Leigh’s voice was hoarse with sadness and desperation as she exclaimed her frustrations (“I have to know him!”) and gasped for air while pounding on Thomas’ chest. With the wind billowing around her, it felt like Leigh was tapping into the elements to amplify her emotional performance. So overwhelming were her feelings that Thomas picked Kat up and threatened to drop her in the ocean. When he placed her back on dry ground, Leigh broke down in tears behind her trembling hand, and we were left shaken, as well. —Vlada Gelman



Most of us know the story of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth. Not as many of us are aware of how tirelessly Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, fought to find the president’s killer in the time immediately following the murder. Stanton’s determination stemmed from his deep devotion to Lincoln, a quality Tobias Menzies plays to great effect in Apple TV+’s Manhunt. We took particular notice of Menzies’ work during the gravely injured Lincoln’s final hours. Though he didn’t have much dialogue, the Emmy-winning actor took us inside Stanton’s deep grief as he stood beside a bloody and unconscious Lincoln’s bed. The tenderness with which Menzies had Stanton hold Abe’s hand. The body-shaking breakdown Stanton experienced immediately after leaving the room, and the superhuman way Menzies made his character stuff down those emotions when matters of state demanded his attention a moment later. And finally, Stanton’s resigned tears as Lincoln passed, Menzies paying beautiful homage to a friendship cut short just as the country was entering a new era.

Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!

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