How Ryan Gosling's 'I'm Just Ken' Performance Mirrored Marilyn Monroe's 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend'

Many Oscars viewers pointed out the similarities between Gosling's 'I'm Just Ken' and Monroe's 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.'

Ryan Gosling brought the house down at the 2024 Oscars on Sunday, with his long-awaited performance of "I'm Just Ken" from the Barbie movie.

Gosling was joined by the song's producers, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, as well as four of his fellow Kens from the movie -- Scott Evans, Ncuti Gatwa, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Simu Liu. Even Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen were part of the massive production, joining in for the song's epic guitar solos.

Ronson told ET on the red carpet ahead of the performance that Gosling "kinda wrote the whole script" for the long-awaited live rendition. The actor started off in the audience, sharing a cheeky moment with his Barbie, Margot Robbie, before he took the stage with a whole host of dancing Kens, who joined him in some dramatics on a set of pink stairs, brought the "Ken-ergy" with some epic choreography, and lifted him in the air, spinning him around before Gosling took the show out into the crowd again, singing along with Robbie, Barbie director Greta Gerwig, America Ferrera and Emma Stone.

Many Oscars viewers pointed out that the performance of the Oscar-nominated Barbie song paid homage to another one of history's most famous blondes: Marilyn Monroe.

In the 1953 movie musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Monroe performs "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in a stunning hot pink gown, on a set of red stairs surrounded by suitors. The performance, which became one of the bombshell's most iconic movie moments, was clearly an inspiration for Gosling's Oscar rendition -- though in his case, the tuxedo-clad Kens around him carried large cutouts of Barbie heads, instead of hearts.

And the layers of interweaving movie references don't stop there. In 2020's Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), the titular DC Comics villain hallucinates herself performing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" why being drugged and tortured by an enemy. Harley Quinn, of course, being played by none other than the Barbie to Gosling's Ken, Margot Robbie.

Though "I'm Just Ken" ultimately lost Best Original Song to another Barbie soundtrack standout -- Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" -- there's no doubt Gosling's performance will remain a memorable moment in Oscars history for years to come.

"I'm Just Ken" even led the actor to another career first last summer, when it landed him on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time. The track debuted at No. 87 last August.

Shockingly, however, Ronson recently revealed that the song almost didn't make it in the movie.

In an interview with The Times of London, the producer shared that initial screenings of Barbie left studio executives unconvinced about the song's fit within the film. Recalling the tense moment, Ronson admitted, "At that first screening the song wasn’t working. I panicked. The humor wasn’t translating and Greta had to fight."

Gerwig's unwavering determination ultimately secured the song's place in the movie. When studio executives questioned Gerwig about the necessity of "I'm Just Ken," Gerwig responded emphatically, stating, "With every inch of my body." Ronson emphasized the pivotal moment, noting, "And then there was a big swing."