Pop Culture

Ryan Gosling — the male threat

The other night, during a random discussion with my boyfriend, I expressed interest in seeing “Half Nelson.” The movie stars Ryan Gosling, whose performance garnered him a best actor nomination. I suggested that we rent it next weekend, once it’s out on DVD.

“What’s it about?” he warily asked.

“This inner-city teacher, a white guy who’s also addicted to crack,” I explained. I figured that it sounded edgy enough to appeal to him.

“Who’s in it?”

“Ryan Gosling. He got a best actor nomination for it.”

My boyfriend’s lip curled in disgust. “Oh, no. We’re not renting that.”

What went wrong? He knew I was making an effort to see Oscar-related films, and here was one that was suitably hip and seemed a bit more youthful and exciting than, say, “Venus.”

“I hate Ryan Gosling,” he explained. When I asked why, he was unable to explain. Was it “The Notebook,” the sweeping, romantic sobfest in which Gosling starred? Could the immediate association of Gosling with such a treacly film — the ultimate chick flick, really — immediately turn off men to him? “Maybe?” he responded, visibly confused by his own emotion. “Actually, I don’t really hate Ryan Gosling. Steve hates Ryan Gosling, so I guess I just started doing the same.”  Steve, his best friend. And why does Steve hate Ryan Gosling? My boyfriend couldn’t seem to remember.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Neil P. Mockford / GC Images

    Image: Celebrity Sightings On The Set Of 'A Hundred Streets' - August 8, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. on the "Let's Be Cops," red carpet, Selena Gomez is immortalized in wax and more.

  • Image: Celebrity Sightings On The Set Of 'A Hundred Streets' - August 8, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Idris Elba -

    Actor Idris Elba seen on the set of :A Hundred Streets" on Aug. 8 in London.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of RADiUS-TWC's "The One I Love" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass -

    Actors Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass arrive at the premiere of RADIUS-TWC's "The One I Love" at the Vista Theatre on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of RADiUS-TWC's "The One I Love" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nick Kroll -

    Actor Nick Kroll arrives at the premiere of RADIUS-TWC's "The One I Love" at the Vista Theatre on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson -

    Actors Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson arrive at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Cast member D'Arcy poses at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" in Hollywood

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    James D'Arcy -

    James D'Arcy arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: BESTPIX: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Arrivals

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Julianne Hough -

    Actress Julianne Hough arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Arrivals

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Hannah Simone -

    Actress Hannah Simone arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nina Dobrev -

    Actress Nina Dobrev arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nicole Murphy, Brandy Norwood -

    TV personality Nicole Murphy and singer Brandy Norwood attend The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception at W Hollywood on Aug. 7 in Hollywood.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Tara Reid -

    Actress Tara Reid attends The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception at W Hollywood on Aug. 7 in Hollywood.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: "Phoenix" Opening Night

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    James Wirt, Julia Stiles -

    Actors James Wirt and Julia Stiles stand on stage during the opening night curtain call for "Phoenix" at the Cherry Lane Theatre on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: "Phoenix" Opening Night

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    AnnaSophia Robb -

    Actress AnnaSophia Robb attends the opening night performance of "Phoenix" at the Cherry Lane Theatre on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Madame Tussauds New York To Unveil New, Never-Before-Seen Selena Gomez Wax Figure

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Selena Gomez -

    A boy gives the wax figure of Selena Gomez a kiss at the unveiling of the new new, never-before-seen Selena Gomez wax figure at Madame Tussauds New York on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Chris Martin Visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show"

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Chris Martin -

    Chris Martin of Coldplay performs during the Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show at Z100 Studio on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Apple Store Soho Presents: Meet the Actors: Michael Fassbender And Domhnall Gleeson - "Frank"

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Michael Fassbender -

    Actor Michael Fassbender attends "Meet the Actor" at Apple Store Soho on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Mickey Rourke -

    Actor Mickey Rourke is seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Jordana Brewster -

    Actress Jordana Brewster waves outisde of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: G. Garvin Live

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Keshia Knight Pulliam -

    Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam attends G. Garvin Live at Buckhead Theatre on Aug. 7 in Atlanta.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Reese Witherspoon -

    Actress Reese Witherspoon is seen on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Miley Cyrus

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Miley Cyrus -

    Singer Miley Cyrus performs in concert at Bridgestone Arena on Aug. 7 in Nashville.

    AP / AP
  • Image: 67th Locarno Film Festival - Day 2

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Melanie Griffith -

    Actress Melanie Griffith attends a press conference during the 67th Locarno Film Festival on Aug. 7 in Locarno, Switzerland.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Lily Allen

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Lily Allen -

    Singer Lily Allen performs in concert at Bridgestone Arena on Aug. 7 in Nashville.

    AP / AP
  • Image: "The Expendables 3" Paris Photocall At Cinema UGC Normandie

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    'Expendables 3' -

    The stars of "Expendables 3," from left, Kellan Lutz, Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes attend "Expendables 3" at Cinema UGC Normandie on Aug. 7 in Paris.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Meet The FilmMakers: "The Rover"

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Robert Pattinson -

    Actor Robert Pattinson speaks during the Meet The Filmmakers event for "The Rover" at Apple Store, Regent Street on Aug. 7 in London.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In New York City - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman -

    Actors Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman are spotted filming Bateman's "The Family Fang" in Westchester, New York, on Aug. 7.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Africa: New Partnership Models For Growth

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Akon -

    Grammy-nominated artist Akon, who is the founder of Akon Lighting Africa Project, discusses at the US-Africa Leaders Summit "Africa: New Parnership Models for Growth" news conference, held in Washington, DC, on Aug. 7, the progress that African heads of state have made.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

I thus went to Steve, who said my boyfriend “has no earthly clue what he’s talking about. Not only have I never expressed an opinion on Gosling, but I’m not sure I’ve ever formed one.” Interesting. It would seem that there’s an instinctive, anti-Gosling reaction firmly embedded into my boyfriend’s brain, reason be damned. This got me wondering: Might men have a problem with Ryan Gosling? I conducted an informal, unscientific survey of a handful of male friends, and my “Notebook” suspicions might not be that far from the mark. In general, it would seem that guys, mostly those in Gosling’s age group (or slightly older), aren’t fans.

‘I've heard good things but ...’
A male co-worker elaborates, “I think the only thing women love him for is “The Notebook.” I’ve heard good things but I’ve not seen any of his movies. And you resent the fact that all these chicks like him and think he’s cool and independent, but it’s really just because he’s cute and in that movie.”Hm. Maybe we’re on to something here.

“Eh. Overrated pretty boy. Not a good actor,” said another gentleman colleague. He’d not seen “The Notebook,” so I asked if the reaction had anything to do with how women feel about Gosling (i.e., his swoon factor), and he admitted that his feelings “probably” stemmed from that. “The fact that every girl in town loves him makes it easier for me to dismiss him,” he added. An excellent defensive strategy.

On the other hand, one friend actually admitted to having a man-crush on Gosling. Naturally he had a kinder assessment: “I think a lot of dudes hate him right away, just because they think of “The Notebook.”But it’s kind of a John Mayer thing, meaning you automatically dislike him based on your gut feeling. And that’s based on the lame, popular things they do, like “The Notebook.”But then you realize that (Mayer and Gosling) are probably funny, cool dudes to know in real life, and you wish you could hang out with them.” Touching, but an anomaly in my sample set.

Even a friend who has yet to see a single Gosling movie was ready to offer up a less-than-glowing opinion. “I think men hate him because he’s in a class of movie stars who seem to be famous just for being hot, scruffy and mysterious,” he said. “Men see through the Gosling aura whereas women eat it up. And he’s a random, 26-year-old dude. Yawn. That’s why he needs a real role. Maybe he’s a talent, but it’s not out there yet.” Even with an Oscar nomination? “Well, it’s hard to deny that it’s a step in the right direction,” my friend conceded. How generous.

So what does this mean for Gosling’s Oscar hopes? Probably not much, since the general consensus is that Forest Whitaker (as Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland”) has a lock on the statue. But in forthcoming years, should Gosling continue his upward career trajectory and garner more nominations, he might want to be careful. The Academy has more than 6,000 members, and a decent percentage of them are men with egos to protect. Go to for more of Vanity Fair’s Oscar coverage, plus updates from its .

TOP