Mahershala Ali "Moonlight"
Oscar Isaac "The Promise"
Steve Martin "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"
Liam Neeson "Silence"
Michael Shannon "Loving"
Other Contenders - Aaron Eckhart "Sully", Hugh Grant "Florence Foster Jenkins", Adam Driver "Silence", Craig Robinson "Morris From America", David Oyelowo "Queen of Katwe", Jeff Bridges "Hell or High Water", Billy Crudup "20th Century Women", Michael Sheen "Passengers", Jeremy Renner "Arrival", Armie Hammer "The Birth of a Nation", John Goodman "10 Cloverfield Lane", Warren Beatty "Rules Don't Apply", Kyle Chandler "Manchester By the Sea", Edgar Ramirez "Gold", Michael Shannon "Nocturnal Animals", Ralph Fiennes "A Bigger Splash", Jack O'Connell "HHhH", Edward Norton "Collateral Beauty", Stephen Henderson "Fences", Mykelti Williamson "Fences", Nick Offerman "The Founder", Timothy Spall "Denial", Mark Strong "Miss Sloane", Alan Rickman "Eye in the Sky", Forest Whitaker "Arrival", Vin Diesel "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk", Chris Tucker "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk", Kurt Russell "Deepwater Horizon", Ben Kingsley "War Machine"
Commentary - What an interesting race that is brewing here. You have the Emmy nominee with what is apparently a standout role in the little film that is suddenly on a lot of folks radar, Moonlight. Of course I am talking about House of Cards' Mahershala Ali. There is the indie actor, Star Wars cast member, and overdue Oscar Issac in The Promise. There is Liam Neeson in a meaty role in the new Scorsese film, Michael Shannon hoping to get that nod he couldn't quite pull off for 99 Homes last year, and then of course the beloved veteran Steve Martin hoping to finally get his chance at competitive Oscar gold. And that's just the top five. Hugh Grant is getting rave reviews for his return to the screen in Florence Foster Jenkins, Aaron Eckhart is still waiting on a nod, as is David Oyelowo, and Jeff Bridges returns with the surprise critical hit Hell or High Water. Adam Driver hopes to move his indie chops into Oscar contention with Scorsese's latest, Craig Robinson is a Sundance favorite, Nick Offerman a comedic genius, Jeremy Renner opposite Amy Adams, Armie Hammer, Billy Crudp, Michael Sheen, Edgar Ramirez, and Edward Norton. There is that brilliant performance from John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane, Ralph Fiennes work in A Bigger Splash, the Fences pair, the other Billy Lynn guys, Jack O'Connell, Forest Whitaker, Kurt Russell, and the late great Alan Rickman.