How ‘I’m Just Ken’ Won the Oscars Without Winning an Actual Oscar

Sixty-two dancers. One week of cast rehearsals. Ncuti Gatwa, didn’t arrive until Friday. Slash showed up on Saturday.

“I’m Just Ken” was the showstopping number of Sunday’s Oscar telecast, and it probably wouldn’t have come together in as seamless a fashion if not for choreographer Mandy Moore, who has designed dance sequences for a Taylor Swift world tour and a film musical.

“Um, it was definitely up there with ‘La La Land’ and the Eras Tour,” she said when asked about how “I’m Just Ken” ranked in terms of career challenges.

Expectations were high before the ceremony. There were reports that the backup Kens would be shirtless, and in an interview on the red carpet, Mark Ronson, who was up for an Oscar for the song along with Andrew Wyatt, promised an “absolutely bananas spectacle.”

While the dancers were fully clothed (and a different “Barbie” song would win the Academy Award), Moore’s troupe did deliver on Ronson’s promise. It helped that her partner in crime through the whole endeavor was Ryan Gosling, Oscar-nominated for his role as Ken in “Barbie,” who not only eagerly donned the pink sequin suit but also sang live and had clear ideas about how the number should go.

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