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The wackiest Best Original Song performances in Oscars history

In the battle of the “Barbie” tunes, “What Was I Made For?” was the far-and-away favorite over “I’m Just Ken” in the Best Original Song race at the 2024 Oscars on Sunday night.

Indeed, the tune went on to make singer Billie Eilish, 22, and her producer brother Finneas, 26, the youngest two-time Oscar winners in history.

(This after the unstoppable siblings had already earned the prestigious Song of the Year prize at the Grammys last month.)

Ryan Gosling was joined by his fellow “Barbie” Kens Simi Liu (bottom left) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (bottom right). Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Ryan Gosling was joined by his fellow “Barbie” Kens Simi Liu (bottom left) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (bottom right). Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

But Ryan Gosling, 43, still won the night when he brought all of his Kenergy to the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

It was a show-stopping number unlike any that the Academy Awards had seen before.

Instantly, Gosling’s Kenfest joined the ranks of these wackiest Oscar musical performances ever.

Ray Parker Jr., “Ghostbusters” (1985)

The sight of the orange-jumpsuited singer cavorting across the stage with a troupe of ghosts and other assorted ghouls was truly scary. As was the fact that Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” not only beat out the No. 1 smash “Ghostbusters” but the likes of Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” and Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.”

Ray Parker’s “Ghostbusters” hit took an Oscar loss to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Oscars.org
Ray Parker’s “Ghostbusters” hit took an Oscar loss to Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Oscars.org

Geoffrey Holder, “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea” (1990)

Although Samuel E. Wright sang these two Alan Menken-Howard Ashman tunes as the voice of Jamaican crab Sebastian in 1989’s “The Little Mermaid,” actor-dancer Holder took the performance plunge for both nominated songs before “Under the Sea” won the Oscar. But the cheesy choreography — by Paula Abdul, just one year after “Straight Up” went No. 1 — and even cheesier costumes were a total washout.

Nell Carter, “Friend Like Me” (1993)

Although Robin William unbottled his genie powers singing “Friend Like Me” in 1992’s “Aladdin,” Tony-winning actress Nell Carter attempted to puff up the jam in her MC Hammer pants before the tune lost the intramural battle to “A Whole New World” on Oscar night. Give us a break.

Nell Carter got in touch with her inner genie while performing “Friend Like Me” at the 1993 Oscars.
Nell Carter got in touch with her inner genie while performing “Friend Like Me” at the 1993 Oscars.

Robin Williams, “Blame Canada” (2000)

Williams getting his Rockette on performing this tune from “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” is the kind of high-kicking hilarity that only the late comic genius could pull off.

Robin Williams brought some high-kicking hilarity to the 2000 Academy Awards when he performed “Blame Canada.” AFP via Getty Images
Robin Williams brought some high-kicking hilarity to the 2000 Academy Awards when he performed “Blame Canada.” AFP via Getty Images

Björk, “I’ve Seen It All” (2001)

Two words: swan dress.

Björk infamously donned a swan dress to sing “I’ve Seen It All,” from “Dancer in the Dark,” at the 2001 Oscars. AFP via Getty Images
Björk infamously donned a swan dress to sing “I’ve Seen It All,” from “Dancer in the Dark,” at the 2001 Oscars. AFP via Getty Images

Kathleen “Bird” York, “In the Deep” (2006)

The only thing worse than “Crash” somehow beating “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture at the 2006 Academy Awards was York performing this tune from the ensemble film complete with slow-motion dancers, dry ice and, yes, a burning car.

Kathleen “Bird” York at the Oscars in 2006. WireImage
Kathleen “Bird” York at the Oscars in 2006. WireImage

Three 6 Mafia and Taraji P. Henson, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” (2006)

The 2006 Oscars also produced a musical number that wild in all the right ways when hip-hop went Hollywood as Three 6 Mafia rocked the Kodak Theatre stage with “Hustle & Flow” actress Taraji P. Henson. And “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” went on to become the first rap track to win Best Original Song. Nothing wack about that.

Three 6 Mafia performed “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” with “Hustle & Flow” co-star Taraji P. Henson before the tune became the first rap track to win the Best Original Song Oscar. AFP via Getty Images
Three 6 Mafia performed “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” with “Hustle & Flow” co-star Taraji P. Henson before the tune became the first rap track to win the Best Original Song Oscar. AFP via Getty Images

Various Artists, “Everything Is Awesome” (2015)

Legos as building toys are awesome. Legos as musical performance inspiration? Not so much. Not even with the motliest of crews including Tegan and Sara, the Lonely Island, Will Arnett, Questlove and Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh.

Ryan Gosling, Best Supporting Actor nominee for “Barbie,” brought all the Kenergy wth a troupe of Cowboy Kens. AFP via Getty Images
Ryan Gosling, Best Supporting Actor nominee for “Barbie,” brought all the Kenergy wth a troupe of Cowboy Kens. AFP via Getty Images

Ryan Gosling, “I’m Just Ken” (2024)

Rocking a sparkly pink suit, Ryan Gosling brought down the house with a troupe of Cowboy Kens, Guns N’ Roses guitar god Slash and an epic group karaoke that included everyone from “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie to Best Actress winner Emma Stone. With a fabulously over-the-top number that harked back to Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” it hardly mattered that “I’m Just Ken” went on to lose to another “Barbie” tune, Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?”