Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor for Paul Dano and Best Original Song for "One Kind of Love" by Brian Wilson and Scott Bennett
This unusual biopic of Brian Wilson, the musical genius who made the Beach Boys the major pop music rival to the Beatles, first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, so it has been a long road indeed for the film to get to this year's awards season.
Love & Mercy splits Wilson's life between his heyday with the Beach Boys in the 1960s, with Dano playing Wilson, and his life as a recluse in the 1980s, with John Cusack playing Wilson as an older man. It opened last June to strong reviews, and decent box office returns for an indie (especially this year), but most movies that open in the first half of the year fade from the awards season.
Except, apparently, for Dano, who shines especially in the sequences in which we watch Wilson craft and record his seminal 1966 album Pet Sounds. Dano is such a strong presence, actually, that there was some question about whether he belonged in the supporting category, but the Hollywood Foreign Press did not, in this case at least, seem to mind.
The nominated song, written in part by Wilson, was originally written for the film, but because of Love & Mercy's delayed release, it first appeared on Wilson's album No Pier Pressure. You can listen to it here. —A.B.V.