Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthJune 19, 1984
MarkOften plays characters who receive beatings
FactGraduated from high school on June 22, 2002.

Paul Dano is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. He has been nominated for an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and has won a Critics’ Choice Award and a Satellite Award for his work in film.

Dano was born in New York City, the son of Gladys (née Pipp) and Paul A. Dano. His father is of Italian and Slovak descent, while his mother is of Irish ancestry. Dano has a younger sister, Grace. He was raised in the Catholic faith. Dano spent his early childhood in Montclair, New Jersey, where he attended Edgemont Elementary School, before moving with his family to New Canaan, Connecticut, when he was eight years old.

Dano began his acting career on stage at the age of twelve. He appeared in an off-Broadway production of The Second City’s “Don’t Drink the Water” in 2002. In 2004, he made his film debut with a minor role in L.I.E., and had his first leading role in the independent film Little Miss Sunshine the following year. He also appeared in the films The Girl Next Door (2004), The King (2005), Fast Food Nation (2006), and Knocked Up (2007).

Dano’s breakout role came in the film There Will Be Blood (2007), for which he received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor. He subsequently appeared in the films Meek’s Cutoff (2010), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Being Flynn (2012), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Prisoners (2013), Love & Mercy (2014), and Swiss Army Man (2016).

In 2017, Dano made his directorial debut with the film Wildlife, based on the novel of the same name by Richard Ford. He also wrote and starred in the film alongside Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. His second directorial effort, Prisoners of the Ghostland, is set to premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Dano has been in a relationship with actress Zoe Kazan since 2007. They have two children together: a daughter born in 2016, and a son born in 2018.

General Info

Full NamePaul Dano
Date Of BirthJune 19, 1984
Height1.8 m
ProfessionMusician, Film producer, Actor
EducationWilton High School


ParentsPaul Dano, Gladys Dano
SiblingsSarah Dano
PartnerZoe Kazan, Zoe Kazan


AwardsScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Actor, Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance, BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Young Actor, Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
NominationsGolden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor, Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male, Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Performance, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Satellite Award for...
MoviesSwiss Army Man, Love & Mercy, Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood, Ruby Sparks, Prisoners, 12 Years a Slave, Looper, Youth, Being Flynn, The Girl Next Door, Cowboys & Aliens, For Ellen, Knight and Day, The Good Heart, The Extra Man, Okja, Meek's Cutoff, Taking Woodstock, The Ballad of Jack and...
TV ShowsWar & Peace

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Often plays characters who receive beatings


1I want to get better and I want to do more. It's less about stardom and more about being somebody who wants to help create work I want to see.
2When you play a part like that, so far from yourself, it's a turn-on. There's this mystery to be solved. That's my biggest challenge as an actor, figuring out what brought this person to where we meet them.
3Taking Woodstock (2009), which is a small part, was basically just to spend a couple days on set with Ang Lee, who I admire a lot, just because I feel like he's doing something different, every time out. I feel like he hasn't lost the hunger to try new things. I really admire that and would like to, as an actor, be that way. I'd also want to make a film someday, so getting a chance to work with directors who I like is really important, because I definitely want to make a film or two.
4(On if he watches his own films) Yeah, I like to see things once just to have closure. Anything beyond that, I don't know. It's probably not a good thing. Then I start to pick away at myself, you know? Maybe there's something you can learn from it, but I kind of like to see things once, just to know what the movie is. I feel like a lot of the films I do, part of the reason I like doing them is I'm not 100 percent sure what it's going to be. It's exciting. I read an equal amount of very generic scripts, and you kind of know exactly what those are and that doesn't whet my appetite. I already know what it is or I already know what the character is. It's just a lot harder to get interested.
5Cereal. I love cereal. I eat several bowls a day, mostly a few late at night. Crispix, Honey Nut Cheerios, Kashi, and Oh's are a few favorites.
6[on working with Steve Carell] "I knew Steve from The Daily Show (1996) and that funny scene he had in Bruce Almighty (2003). I didn't maybe know him by name at that point, but I was just like, "That dude is hilarious!". He's genuinely a very down-to-earth, sweet guy. I have a lot of respect for him. We became good friends. Nobody was really on a pedestal or anything. When you're working with people you look up to and they put you on the same level, it makes your job a little easier, confidence-wise. I never felt nervous, it was just a lot of fun".
7[on preparing for his role in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)] "In my house, I tried not talking for a couple days and it was almost impossible to be at a dinner table with my parents and not point out to them what I thought was silly that they were saying. You just want to rebel! It was so difficult".
8[on working with Daniel Day-Lewis in the movie, The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)] "It was incredible. I mean, Daniel Day-Lewis and I were enemies in the movie. I'm the "snake" and his daughter Rose is the "rose". You couldn't get any more opposite from the character I play in (The Girl Next Door (2004)) than the one I play in that. I'm the villain, the snake, sleazy and like this sexual creature. There were days when we wouldn't even look at each other until the end of the day because we were intense. I got into that; it was great. It would help me, too. You know, I look up to him. Before I even auditioned for the movie I did, so it was incredible.
9Everything you do, every experience that you have, enlightens you a little bit or worsens you. L.I.E. (2001) was big for me. I think it's one of the best things I've been a part of in my life, so far.
10[on why he chooses acting over music] "I think I'd be too stubborn and have to do it on my own terms. There's a lot of hope in music and there are some really amazing artists out there, but as far as popular music goes, a lot of it is just not for me. So I don't know where I'd fit in or whatever."


1As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Little Miss Sunshine (2006), There Will Be Blood (2007) and 12 Years a Slave (2013). The latter won in the category.
2Paul's paternal grandparents, John Dano and Anna Herzo, were both from Slovak families that immigrated to Scranton, Pennsylvania. Paul's mother is of half Austrian (including Bohemian/Czech) and half Swedish descent.
3Was ranked #5 on Entertainment Weekly's '30 Under 30' the actors list. (2008).
4Daniel Day-Lewis was so impressed by his work in the film, The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005), that he suggested him to Paul Thomas Anderson for the role of "Paul Sunday" in the film, There Will Be Blood (2007).
5Lead guitar and vocals in the band Mook, based out of Wilton, Connecticut.
6Graduated from high school on June 22, 2002.
7He and Billy Kay were already friends at the time L.I.E. (2001) was filmed, having worked together on an earlier film (The Newcomers (2000)).




Swiss Army Man2016Hank
Youth2015/IJimmy Tree
Love & Mercy2014Brian - Past
12 Years a Slave2013Tibeats
Prisoners2013Alex Jones
Ruby Sparks2012Calvin Weir-Fields
Being Flynn2012Nick Flynn
Flatscreen2012Video shortPaul
For Ellen2012Joby Taylor
Cowboys & Aliens2011Percy Dolarhyde
Meek's Cutoff2010Thomas Gately
Knight and Day2010Simon Feck
The Extra Man2010Louis Ives
Where the Wild Things Are2009Alexander (voice)
The Good Heart2009Lucas
Taking Woodstock2009VW Guy
Gigantic2008Brian Weathersby
Explicit Ills2008Rocco
Light and the Sufferer2007Don (AKA: Light)
There Will Be Blood2007Paul Sunday Eli Sunday
Fast Food Nation2006Brian
Little Miss Sunshine2006Dwayne
The King2005Paul Sandow
The Ballad of Jack and Rose2005Thaddius
The Sopranos2002-2004TV SeriesPatrick Whaley Patrick Whalen
Taking Lives2004Young Asher
The Girl Next Door2004Klitz
The Emperor's Club2002Martin Blythe
Too Young to Be a Dad2002TV MovieMatt Freeman (as Paul Franklin Dano)
L.I.E.2001Howie Blitzer (as Paul Franklin Dano)
The Newcomers2000Joel
Smart Guy1998TV SeriesNicholas
War & Peace2016TV Mini-SeriesPierre Bezukhov


Swiss Army Man2016performer: "Cotton Eye Joe", "Jurassic Park", "Intro Song", "Where Did You Come From?", "Cave Ballad", "When I Think About Mom", "Talk To Her", "Montage", "River Rocket", "Goodbye/Hello"
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon2015TV Series performer - 1 episode
Love & Mercy2014performer: "God Only Knows", "You Still Believe In Me", "Caroline, No", "Good Vibrations", "Surf's Up", "Black Hole", "Be My Baby" uncredited
12 Years a Slave2013performer: "Run Nigger Run"
Meek's Cutoff2010performer: "Nearer, My God, To Thee" - uncredited
The Good Heart2009"Lullaby for Kitten"
The King2005performer: "My Arms Belong to Jesus", "Sad and Beautiful World" 2000, "Helplessly Hoping" 1969


Wildlife2017producer filming
Ruby Sparks2012executive producer
For Ellen2012executive producer
Gigantic2008executive producer




Wildlife2017adaptation filming


Night Moves2013thanks
Snowpiercer2013special thanks
Don Jon2013the producers would like to thank
What Goes Up2009special thanks


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert2016TV SeriesHimself
Birthday Stories with Lynn Hirschberg2016TV Series shortHimself
21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards2016TV MovieHimself
73rd Golden Globe Awards2016TV SpecialHimself - Nominee
The Late Late Show with James Corden2015-2016TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest
Variety Studio: Actors on Actors2016TV SeriesHimself
Off Camera with Sam Jones2015TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon2015TV SeriesHimself
The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards2015TV SpecialHimself - Audience Member
Made in Hollywood2012-2015TV SeriesHimself
Jimmy Kimmel Live!2015TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Good Morning America2015TV SeriesHimself - Guest
12 Years a Slave: A Historical Portrait2014Video documentaryHimself
The 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards2014TV SpecialHimself - Presenter
Looper: The Future from the Beginning2013Video shortHimself
Looper: The Science of Time Travel2013Video shortHimself
The Hour2013TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Canada A.M.2012TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Big Morning Buzz Live2012TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Igniting the Sky: The Making of Cowboys & Aliens2011Video documentary shortHimself
HBO First Look2009TV Series documentaryHimself
13th Annual Critics' Choice Awards2008TV SpecialHimself
13th Annual Critics' Choice Awards Red Carpet Premiere2008TV SpecialHimself
The Manufacturing of 'Fast Food Nation'2007Video documentaryHimself
The 12th Annual Critics' Choice Awards2007TV SpecialHimself
E! Live from the Red Carpet2007TV SeriesHimself
Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show2007TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Dusty Wright's Culture CatchCulture Catch2005TV SeriesHimself
Cartaz Cultural2003TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Peace, Love and Cinema2009Documentary shortVW Guy
Ceremonia de inauguración - 56º Festival internacional de cine de San Sebastián2008TV MoviePaul Sunday / Eli Sunday (uncredited)


Won Awards

2016EDA AwardAlliance of Women Film JournalistsBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2016Virtuoso AwardSanta Barbara International Film FestivalYouth (2015)
2015BSFC AwardBoston Society of Film Critics AwardsBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015DFWFCA AwardDallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association AwardsBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015FFCC AwardFlorida Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015Gotham Independent Film AwardGotham AwardsBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015NYFCO AwardNew York Film Critics, OnlineBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015SFFCC AwardSan Francisco Film Critics CircleBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2013BFCC AwardBlack Film Critics Circle AwardsBest Ensemble12 Years a Slave (2013)
2013NBR AwardNational Board of Review, USABest EnsemblePrisoners (2013)
2012New Hollywood AwardDeauville Film Festival
2008Chlotrudis AwardChlotrudis AwardsBest Supporting ActorThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2007Critics Choice AwardBroadcast Film Critics Association AwardsBest Young ActorLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)
2007Gold Derby AwardGold Derby AwardsEnsemble CastLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)
2007ActorScreen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)
2006ACCAAwards Circuit Community AwardsBest Cast EnsembleLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)
2006PFCS AwardPhoenix Film Critics Society AwardsBest Ensemble CastLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)
2003Directors' Week AwardFantasportoBest ActorL.I.E. (2001)
2002Independent Spirit AwardIndependent Spirit AwardsBest Debut PerformanceL.I.E. (2001)
2001Grand Jury AwardL.A. OutfestOutstanding Actor in a Feature FilmL.I.E. (2001)
2001Best ActorStockholm Film FestivalL.I.E. (2001)

Nominated Awards

2016Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion PictureLove & Mercy (2014)
2016AACTA International AwardAustralian Film InstituteBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2016Critics Choice AwardBroadcast Film Critics Association AwardsBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2016Chlotrudis AwardChlotrudis AwardsBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2016Independent Spirit AwardIndependent Spirit AwardsBest Supporting MaleLove & Mercy (2014)
2016ALFS AwardLondon Critics Circle Film AwardsActor of the YearLove & Mercy (2014)
2016NCFCA AwardNorth Carolina Film Critics AssociationBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015DFCS AwardDetroit Film Critic Society, USBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015DFCCDublin Film Critics Circle AwardsBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015ICP AwardIndiewire Critics' PollBest Lead ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015ICP AwardIndiewire Critics' PollBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015PFCS AwardPhoenix Film Critics Society AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting RoleLove & Mercy (2014)
2015SDFCS AwardSan Diego Film Critics Society AwardsBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015SFFCC AwardSan Francisco Film Critics CircleBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015Satellite AwardSatellite AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting RoleLove & Mercy (2014)
2015SLFCA AwardSt. Louis Film Critics Association, USBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015VVFP AwardVillage Voice Film PollBest ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015VVFP AwardVillage Voice Film PollBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2015WAFCA AwardWashington DC Area Film Critics Association AwardsBest Supporting ActorLove & Mercy (2014)
2014Gold Derby AwardGold Derby AwardsEnsemble Cast12 Years a Slave (2013)
2014ActorScreen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture12 Years a Slave (2013)
2014Seattle Film Critics AwardSeattle Film Critics AwardsBest Ensemble Cast12 Years a Slave (2013)
2013PFCS AwardPhoenix Film Critics Society AwardsBest Acting Ensemble12 Years a Slave (2013)
2008BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Supporting ActorThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2008INOCAInternational Online Cinema Awards (INOCA)Best Supporting ActorThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2008OFTA Film AwardOnline Film & Television AssociationBest Supporting ActorThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2007ACCAAwards Circuit Community AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting RoleThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2007DFCS AwardDetroit Film Critic Society, USBest Supporting ActorThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2007Empire AwardEmpire Awards, UKBest Male NewcomerLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)
2007Golden SchmoesGolden Schmoes AwardsBest Supporting Actor of the YearThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2007Independent Spirit AwardIndependent Spirit AwardsBest Supporting MaleLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)
2007ICP AwardIndiewire Critics' PollBest Supporting PerformanceThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2007VVFP AwardVillage Voice Film PollBest Supporting ActorThere Will Be Blood (2007)
2006Gotham Independent Film AwardGotham AwardsBest Ensemble PerformanceLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)

2nd Place Awards

2007COFCA AwardCentral Ohio Film Critics AssociationBest EnsembleLittle Miss Sunshine (2006)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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