I know that Love & Mercy‘s Paul Dano isn’t anyone’s idea of the leading contender for Best Supporting Actor, but in my heart he stands head and shoulders above everyone else — period. If you don’t like it, tough. Dano sang “You Still Believe In Me” with Brian Wilson‘s band just a few days ago — you want me to discount that? If you’re not listening at least partly to your heart in mid-October you probably don’t have one. There’s lots of time to go pure handicapper. Yes, the top BSA contenders in HE’s Oscar Balloon (re-posted this morning) tell a slightly different story: Robert DeNiro, Joy (NYS); Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies; Mark Ruffalo or Michael Keaton, Spotlight; Paul Dano, Love & Mercy (EP); Tom Hardy, The Revenant (NYS). Heel-nippers: Michael Shannon, 99 Homes, Freeheld (EP); Benicio Del Toro, Sicario; Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation; Jason Segel, End of the Tour; Sylvester Stallone, Creed (NYS); Ryan Gosling, The Big Short (NYS).