Watch Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen join Ryan Gosling onstage at the Oscars to rip through Barbie hit I'm Just Ken

Slash and Ryan Gosling onstage at the Oscars
(Image credit: Kevin Winter via Getty Images)

In a performance that's unlikely to be repeated any time soon, Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen joined Hollywood A-lister Ryan Gosling onstage last night at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, for a performance of I'm Just Ken, the actor's iconic song from Greta Gerwig's critically-acclaimed Barbie movie. 

Slash and Van Halen joined an ensemble that included the song's writer and producer Mark Ronson, Gosling's fellow onscreen 'Kens' Simu Liu and Scott Evans, plus two other Barbie cast members: Kingsley Ben-Adir, who plays the lead role in this year's Bob Marley: One Love movie, and Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa. 

"I knew he was a good singer," Ronson said of Gosling in an interview with Vulture last year. "But because I’d never made anything like this before, I hadn’t accounted for what he would actually bring to the performance emotionally. Then it kept getting a little more ridiculous in the best way. They started to rewrite the end of the movie, so in this big penultimate scene where, I don’t want to ruin too much about it, but Ken’s going into his destiny, he’s singing this song. 

"Greta was like, 'Now we’re going to shoot this crazy scene in this big white space, and we need this extra thing to go up another level.' This two-and-a-half-minute song that we wrote is now in an eight-minute giant sequence. And then we had Slash come and play on it, and Josh Freese from the Foo Fighters, and Wolf Van Halen — not to get these names, but we’re like, let’s just make this fully realized as the thing that it’s supposed to be: this wonderful heartbreak epic that’s totally batshit."

In other news to emerge from the Oscars, held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, I'm Just Ken lost out in the Best Original Song category to another song from Barbie, Billie Eilish's What Was I Made For?. Meanwhile, the late Robbie Robertson's score for Martin Scorcese's Killer Of The Flower Moon was beaten by Ludwig Göransson's work on Oppenheimer in the Best Original Score category. And in the Best Animated Short Film category, the prize went to Dave Mullins and Brad Booker's War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko. 

Oppenheimer was the big winner on the night, picking up seven wins from the 13 categories it was nominated in, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.  

Slash, meanwhile, has announced details of his new solo album Orgy Of The Damned. An album comprised mainly of blues covers, it will feature contributions from Chris Stapleton, Beth Hart, Iggy Pop, Paul Rodgers, Gary Clark Jr, Billy F. Gibbons, Chris Robinson, Demi Lovato and Dorothy. The first single from the album, a cover of Howlin' Wolf's classic Killing Floor, features vocals from AC/DC's Brian Johnson and harmonica by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.  

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.