Sword and sandals epic 300 will go head to head with Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, Dead Man's Chest, at this year's MTV Movie Awards.
300's leading man Gerard Butler is nominated for best performance
300 has earned five nominations to Pirates' four, with both films vying in the best movie, best villain and best performance categories.
Other contenders for best movie include ice skating comedy Blades of Glory, Little Miss Sunshine and Borat.
Comedian Sarah Silverman will host the annual awards in Los Angeles on 3 June.
Depp is returning as Captain Jack Sparrow later this summer
It will be the first time the awards ceremony, which includes categories for best kiss and best fight, is broadcast live. Silverman, famous for her irreverent style, hosted the Independent Spirit Awards earlier this year.
Pirates stars Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley are both nominated in the best performance category, vying against 300's Gerard Butler, Will Smith for his role in The Pursuit of Happyness and Dreamgirls' Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson.
Potential award-winning villains include Pirates star Bill Nighy, 300's Rodrigo Santoro, Tobin Bell in Saw III, Jack Nicholson in The Departed and Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, whose hit film Borat earned three nominations, has been shortlisted in both the best kiss and the best fight categories.
The Borat creator is nominated for Borat's naked wrestling match with co-star Ken Davitian, and his kiss with Will Ferrell in Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
Baron Cohen is also nominated for best comedic performance, against Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and fellow Briton Emily Blunt.
Blunt, who was in The Devil Wears Prada, is also nominated in the best breakthrough performance category, but will face stiff competition from Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin and Jaden Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness.
They are joined on the shortlist by British actress Lena Headey, in 300, Stomp the Yard's Columbus Short and singer Justin Timberlake, in Alpha Dog.