When an actor delivers two strong performances in the same calendar year, it’s convenient when one is a lead role and the other is supporting so they don’t cannibalize each other in the awards race. Like when Jamie Foxx scored simultaneous nominations for Ray (Best Actor) and Collateral (Best Supporting Actor), for instance. But poor Ryan Gosling, who was undeniably robbed of a nod earlier this year for Blue Valentine (I’m still smarting over that one), has the misfortune of starring in this fall’s Drive and The Ides of March. Though he’s fantastic in both, Academy rules dictate that if the two roles are in the same category, he can only be nominated for one. So what’s he going to do? Pick Ides, which was directed by Oscar pro George Clooney? Or go with Drive, whose director, Nicolas Winding Refn, is so tight with Gosling that they’re already planning to work together again? I chatted with the actor here at the Toronto film festival about his curious dilemma.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: At some point, are you going to make a Sophie’s choice and pick one role to campaign for this season?
RYAN GOSLING: But I don’t feel like they are lead roles. To me they’re, like, ensemble pieces. I guess in Drive I’m in the lead. But when I read them, they felt like ensemble pieces. No?
No. You’re the lead in both of these movies.
You can’t really think about that stuff. Well, I guess you can, but you’ll drive yourself crazy. I guess you can choose one over the other to get behind. But honestly, I’m just thinking about it now because you’re asking me. I haven’t really thought about it.
You were something of an underdog Oscar nominee for Half Nelson, and then with Lars and the Real Girl and Blue Valentine you clearly came close but didn’t make it. Do you get invested in the whole thing?
Outside of the awareness that it brings to your film, I don’t really see what you get out of it. So for me, I was happy that it was involved in those dialogues, because it’s promotion for a film that for the most part can’t afford it.
Okay, so which movie do you think you’re better in: Drive or The Ides of March?
Uh…that’s…uh…[laughs] which one am I better in? Well, I can’t comment. I wish I could do them all again. It just takes a long time to get used to that that’s what you did with your shot. You just have to learn to accept it.
Dave on Twitter: @davekarger