Benzema scored 11 times in 32 LaLiga matches as he helped Real Madrid lift the Champions League during an impressive season.
The Kopa Award will be voted upon by the 33 surviving winners of the Ballon d'Or, among them Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and George Weah.
De Bruyne was nominated for helping his club win the Premier League and his country reach the World Cup semi-finals.
Antoine Griezmann, a World Cup victor with France and Europa League champion at Atletico Madrid, is nominated alongside global teammate and Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante.
Pogba 'inspired tactical changes' for United victory
Michael Essien, a Premier League victor under Jose Mourinho , expects his old boss to be Manchester United manager for a while longer.
No City player has won the coveted prize and Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award over the past decade, winning it five times each.
The Ballon d'Or, a prestigious award presented since 1956, is given to the best player of the year and this year's ceremony will take place in Paris on 3 December.
Ronaldo, now at Juventus, won the Champions League for the third season in a row with Madrid, while De Bruyne inspired Manchester City's Premier League and EFL Cup double before a strong World Cup showing.
Roberto Firmino from Brazil, Liverpool and Diego Godin from Uruguay, Atletico Madrid.