A little less than five months ago, or more precisely between 9.8 and 9.13, I was in a levitational state over Paul Dano‘s performance as the young Brian Wilson in Bill Pohlad‘s Love & Mercy. I was certain I’d seen one of the best lead-actor performances of 2014 — hands down, no question — and was savoring the rough and tumble of an award-season campaign. I knew Dano could never win, but he had to at least be nominated, I was telling myself. He was too good, too “miraculous” (in the view of BBC.com’s Owen Gleiberman) to be shunted aside. And then it all came crashing down when I learned that Roadside Attractions had decided to open Love & Mercy in 2015, and not even give it a one-week qualifying run to attract year-end accolades. Pohlad reiterated during a phoner that discussions about the release strategy were “ongoing” but they weren’t — Roadside had decided on a release date of 6.5.15.
Love & Mercy costars John Cusack, Paul Dano to left and right of Brian Wilson prior to 2014 Toronto Film Festival premiere.
I’m mentioning this to remind everyone that when Love & Mercy (which will screen at the 2015 Berlinale) finally opens 17 or 18 weeks from now that Dano needs to go on the list of 2015 Best Actor candidates, and that he needs to stay there despite all the competing, well-funded, Lisa Taback or Cynthia Swartz-strategized Best Actor campaigns that will kick off the following September. Just saying…okay, pleading — don’t give Dano the Adele Exarchopoulos treatment. Don’t do it. Don’t be dismissive. Be respectful. Okay, do what you want but the Movie Godz will be watching.