I am deeply sorry for not believing that you would get an Oscar nomination for your accomplished performance in Half Nelson.
But, you see, I had my reasons. I first heard about Half Nelson in a little blurb on Moviefone while looking up times for Talladega Nights (don’t judge). It talked about Ryan Gosling in some small indie film in which he plays a drug addicted teacher- and, here’s what really got me, how he could win an Oscar for it. Yeah right. Like that douche from The Notebook has the talent to even be considered for an Oscar. And since when is Moviefone predicting the Oscar. I thought their job was to give movie listings, not act like Roger Ebert.
So basically I dismissed you and didn’t think much of it until I got the chance to see Half Nelson back in November. And let me tell you Mr. Gosling…I was impressed.
In what I thought would be a totally clichéd-ridden performance, you rose above the script (which wasn’t too shabby to begin with) and gave a scarily human performance. You weren’t a saint and didn’t try to pass it off as if you were one. You had real flaws and were even funny (One of my favorite scenes is when you keep catching one of your students cheating on a test). Plus, Half Nelson has the distinction of being the anti-Music of the Heart. Sure you’re a white guy teaching in a poor black neighborhood, but that’s where all comparisons end. You don’t change your student’s lives for the better- you were merely a good teacher who taught them what they needed to know and moved on (all while on coke, bravo). Even the one student who you may have reached, Shareeka Epps’ Drey, was portrayed realistically without schmaltz.
So, in short, congratulations on your well deserved Oscar nomination, and although the chances are slim that you’ll beat both Forest Whitaker and Peter O’Toole, I would be totally happy if you won the Oscar. Continued luck with your future projects (including an upcoming film with Sir Anthony Hopkins and David Strathairn)!