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Awards Blend: Where The Major Oscar Contenders Sit Heading Into Thanksgiving


Look around. Do you see? Better movies are starting to find their way to theaters, after months of a creative, cultural drought. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, ticket buyers can actually choose from big-ticket franchise efforts (Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) to crowd-pleasing animated features (Moana). And in addition, the Oscar contenders are finally starting to reach larger audiences. Moonlight, Loving, Nocturnal Animals and Manchester By The Sea and joining films like Allied, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge and Bleed for This at multiplexes. It's a magical time of year.

This also means that Oscar analysts (myself included) are seeing more films, and the charts below can tighten up as mysterious films start to show their cards. Silence just released a trailer, and a few other movies have yet to fully pull back their curtains, but the majority of the playing field has been revealed as we head into Thanksgiving weekend. The Broadcast Film Critics Association will have their nominees on the table soon. The Indie Spirit Awards just revealed their nominees. And major regional critics groups, from New York to Los Angeles, will help make the larger Oscar picture a little more refined in coming weeks.

For the moment, here's where I think everyone stands:

Hidden Figures

Best Picture

The Frontrunners

La La Land

The Contenders



Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures



Manchester By The Sea


Patriots Day


The Dark Horses

20th Century Women

The Founder

Hacksaw Ridge

Live By Night


A Monster Calls

Nocturnal Animals


The Longshots


Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

The Birth of a Nation


Rules Don't Apply

Tom Hanks Sully


Best Director

The Frontrunners

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

The Contenders

Clint Eastwood, Sully

Pablo Larrain, Jackie

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea

Martin Scorsese, Silence

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Denzel Washington, Fences

The Dark Horses

Ben Affleck, Live By Night

J.A. Bayona, A Monster Calls

Warren Beatty, Rules Don't Apply

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Jeff Nichols, Loving

Morten Tyldum, Passengers

Robert Zemeckis, Allied

The Longshots

Garth Davis, Lion

Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book

John Lee Hancock, The Founder

Ang Lee, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water



Best Actor

The Frontrunners

Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea

Denzel Washington, Fences

The Contenders

Joel Edgerton, Loving

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Tom Hanks, Sully

Michael Keaton, The Founder

The Dark Horses

Ben Affleck, Live By Night

Warren Beatty, Rules Don't Apply

Andrew Garfield, Silence

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals

Lewis MacDougall, A Monster Calls

Matthew McConaughey, Gold

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Miles Teller, Bleed for This

The Longshots

Ethan Hawke, Born to be Blue

Logan Lerman, Indignation

Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation

Chris Pratt, Passengers

Emma Stone La La Land


Best Actress

The Frontrunners

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Emma Stone, La La Land

The Contenders

Amy Adams, Arrival

Annette Bening, 20th Century Women

Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

The Dark Horses

Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals

Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane

Marion Cotillard, Allied

Susan Sarandon, The Meddler

The Longshots

Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship

Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train

Rebecca Hall, Christine

Jennifer Lawrence, Passengers



Best Supporting Actor

The Frontrunners

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

The Contenders

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash

Lucas Hedges, Manchester By The Sea

Dev Patel, Lion

The Dark Horses

Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures

Adam Driver, Silence

Aaron Eckhart, Bleed for This

Aaron Eckhart, Sully

Ben Foster, Hell or High Water

Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins

Liam Neeson, Silence

Jeremy Renner, Arrival

Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

The Longshots

Tracy Letts, Indignation

Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky

Mykelti Williamson, Fences

Felicity Jones A Monster Calls


Best Supporting Actress

The Frontrunners

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

The Contenders

Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Margot Martindale, The Hollars

Sienna Miller, Live By Night

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester By The Sea

The Dark Horses

Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women

Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky

Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures

Lupita Nyong'o, Queen of Katwe

The Longshots

Leslie Mann, The Comedian

Julianne Moore, Maggie's Plan

Sean O'Connell

Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.