2011 is shaping up to be Ryan Gosling’s year. He played yin to Steve Carrell’s yang in Crazy, Stupid, Love., a man whose quiet confidence fills any room he enters, and followed it with an even more taciturn performance as a 21st-century Steve McQueen in Drive. Still to come is The Ides of March, playing the political advisor willing to do anything for his candidate (George Clooney).
Not bad for a kid who got his start on The All New Mickey Mouse Club alongside the much showier talents of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. Where they went big, Gosling went small. I’m not talking success, mind you, but style. Ryan Gosling is a minimalist, the person on screen doing the least amount of “acting” while commanding the most attention. This year, he’s finally getting the attention he deserves and it’s been a long time coming. Here’s our list of the defining roles that brought Gosling from bubblegum Mouseketeer to one of the most respected actors of his generation.