These movies don't have a single Oscar nomination, but they all deserve your attention nonetheless.
"Love & Mercy"
From "Brokeback Mountain" to "The Tree of Life" and "12 Years a Slave," Bill Pohlad has produced some of the most critically acclaimed films of the past two decades. Stepping behind the director's chair for the first time since his 1990 debut "Old Explorers," Pohlad and screenwriter Oren Moverman reinvigorated the biopic genre with a unique approach to chronicling Beach Boys leader and co-founder Brian Wilson. The film is presented in a parallel narrative covering two important time periods in Wilson's life: The 1960s and the 1980s. Bringing the singer to life over these two separate decades is a pair of performances by Paul Dano and John Cusack that show the peak of their dramatic powers. Dano, in particular, is a force of unrelenting genius, registering Wilson's brilliance as inspiring and tragic all in a single look.
What is there to say about "Tangerine" that hasn't been said already? Magnolia effortlessly mounted the first Oscar campaign for a transgender actress, and in many ways we wish Mya Taylor would be at the Dolby Theater in February. In this madcap tale of two Los Angeles prostitutes wandering around Hollywood in search of a cheating pimp, the two stars — Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez — break out in ways both comically brilliant and dramatically profound. Director Sean Baker, shooting the streets of Hollywood with a magnetic intensity, crafts a screwball comedy that never stops surprising. His characters' plight make their tale universally relatable, and the film speaks boldly to every viewers' battle to survive another hectic day.
"The End of the Tour"
James Ponsoldt has emerged as one of the best independent directors thanks to acclaimed favorites "Smashed" (2012) and "The Spectacular Now" (2013), and this biographical drama about a magazine reporter and his conversations with author David Foster Wallace during a promotional book tour is another emotional winner. Following in the footsteps of Jonah Hill, Judd Apatow stalwart Jason Segel makes a successful jump to drama with his portrayal of Wallace, the influential "Infinite Jest" author who committed suicide at age 46 after years of battling depression and substance addiction. It's ultimately these dark facets of Wallace's life that make Ponsoldt the best choice to bring the author to the big screen. Ponsoldt embraces his subjects and their addictions with a rare sensitivity that builds character organically without ever judging it. The results have been movies of stirring authenticity, and "The End of the Tour" movingly continues the trend.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider