The Coen brothers' film No Country For Old Men and historical epic There Will Be Blood lead the Academy Award nominations with eight nods each.
Javier Bardem is one of the stars of No Country for Old Men
British romantic drama Atonement gained seven nominations, including best picture, but stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy were left out.
Daniel Day-Lewis is shortlisted as best actor for There Will Be Blood, along with Johnny Depp for Sweeney Todd.
Cate Blanchett has two nominations, for roles as Elizabeth I and Bob Dylan.
She has a best actress nomination for playing the monarch in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, together with a best supporting actress nod for playing the musician in I'm Not There.
The other best actress nominees are British star Julie Christie for her role as an Alzheimer's sufferer in Away from Her, Laura Linney in The Savages, Juno star Ellen Page and French actress Marion Cotillard for depicting singer Edith Piaf.
Christie, who won best actress in 1966 for Darling, said: "It's great that all of Sarah Polley's wonderful work on Away from Her is being recognised. I'm delighted that the film is being honoured in this way."
George Clooney, Tommy Lee Jones and Viggo Mortensen complete the best actor shortlist.
Daniel Day-Lewis, who won best actor for My Left Foot in 1990, said: "You put me shoulder to shoulder with a group of fine actors."
"I'm proud to be in their company and to have the broader recognition for the film is a lovely thing," he added.
On the directing shortlist, Ethan and Joel Coen are pitted against the makers of Michael Clayton, teen pregnancy saga Juno, There Will Be Blood and French language film Diving Bell and The Butterfly.
Thirteen-year-old Atonement star Saoirse Ronan has landed a nomination in the best supporting actress category, along with British actress Tilda Swinton for her performance in Michael Clayton.
The Irish teenager called the nomination a "great honour". She told BBC News 24 she plans to attend the awards ceremony with her parents.
"I'm feeling absolutely amazing, it's brilliant. I don't know what to say, I mean it's great for Ireland and the film, of course," she said.
"I suppose I'll have to think of a speech just in case," added the actress.
Disney feature Ratatouille is pitched against Persepolis and Surf's Up in the best animation category.
Another Disney feature, Enchanted, dominates the best song shortlist with three out of five nominations.
Kathy Bates joined Academy president Sid Ganis
Cinematographer Roger Deakins has landed two nods in that category for his work on The Assassination of Jesse James and No Country for Old Men.
Michael Moore gains another nomination for his documentary Sicko, after winning with Bowling For Columbine in 2003.
The nominations were announced by Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates at a dawn cermony.
The 80th Academy Awards ceremony takes place in Los Angeles on 24 February.
There is still some doubt about the impact the ongoing US writers' strike will have on the show, although organisers have insisted it will go ahead.
Michael Clayton director Tony Gilroy said he "could never cross a picket line", despite picking up his first ever Oscar nomination for best director.
Best actor nominee Viggo Mortensen added: "If there's a strike I will not go, but I have a feeling they'll solve it. I hope they do.
"I'm sure my mom would like to see me on TV and so forth, but if there's a strike I'm not crossing the line."