It’s shaping up to be a race of beloved character actors, with two-time nominee Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) facing off against the previously ignored Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”) Both have been turning in great work for years and have juicy supporting roles in acclaimed movies. Other adored vets include Richard Jenkins, last nominated for “The Visitor,” standing out in “The Shape of Water” and previous winner Mark Rylance, who brings a quiet dignity to “Dunkirk.” And when it comes to the acclaimed “Call Me by Your Name,” both Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg could find themselves nommed. As a bonus: Stuhlbarg is also in “The Shape Of Water.” The race could be rounded out with first-time (yet overdue) nominees. Ben Mendelsohn has never earned an Oscar nomination, but his turn as King George VI in “Darkest Hour” is every bit as good as star Gary Oldman, considered a lock. Idris Elba proves he can speak Aaron Sorkin monologues with the best of them in “Molly’s Game.” Ray Romano is the surprising heart of “The Big Sick.” And Patrick Stewart bids farewell to Charles Xavier in “Logan.” Yes, it’s a “comic book movie,” but Stewart hits all the right notes as a man battling his age and his mind. Like “Call Me by Your Name,” there are some films with dueling co-stars. Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller both do great work in “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” as father and son. Similarly, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fisbburne share supporting status in “Last Flag Flying.” And Woody Harrelson could also find a slot alongside his “Three Billboards” co-star Rockwell.

Top Contenders
Willem Dafoe
“The Florida Project”

Idris Elba
“Molly’s Game”

Armie Hammer
“Call Me by Your Name”

Richard Jenkins
“The Shape of Water”

Ben Mendelsohn
“Darkest Hour”

Sam Rockwell
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Ray Romano
“The Big Sick”

Mark Rylance

Michael Stuhlbarg
“Call Me by Your Name”

Patrick Stewart

Also In Play
John Boyega

Harrison Ford
“Blade Runner 2049”

Richard Graham
“Phantom Thread

Woody Harrelson
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Ethan Hawke

Dustin Hoffman
“The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)”

Jason Mitchell

Will Poulter

Michael Shannon
“The Shape of Water”

Ben Stiller
“The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)”

Other Possibilities
Jim Belushi
“Wonder Wheel”

Sterling K. Brown

Steve Carell
“Battle of the Sexes”

Bryan Cranston
“Last Flag Flying”
Laurence Fishburne
“Last Flag Flying”

Garrett Hedlund

Tracy Letts
“Lady Bird”

John Lithgow
“Beatriz at Dinner”

Christoph Waltz