Hamilton will hope to follow Michael Schumacher's wins in 2002 and 2004
The Laureus World Sports lavish awards gala has been scrapped due to the global financial crisis.
Organisers believe the annual event would be inappropriate, with winners to receive their prizes individually.
"With so many people suffering this was the wrong time to be staging this event," said chairman and former Olympic hurdle champion Edwin Moses.
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and the British Olympic cycling team have both been nominated for awards.
After winning the World Breakthrough of the Year award last year, Hamilton is named in the main category of World Sportsman of the Year this time around.
David Brailsford's Team GB cycling stars will compete with Manchester United's Premier League and Champions League-winning side in the Team of the Year category after clinching 14 medals - including eight golds - in Beijing.
Multiple Olympic champions Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps lead the men's shortlist alongside French Open and Wimbledon winner Rafael Nadal, Fifa world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.
But tennis player Roger Federer, who has lifted the award on the last four occasions, has been left out of the running, ensuring a different winner for the first time since Michael Schumacher in 2004.
Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba is also recognised for her achievements at the Olympics with a nomination for the World Sportswomen of the Year award following her 5,000m and 10,000m golds.
Venus Williams, who won both the ladies' singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon last year, will be hoping to match her sister Serena's win in 2003.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice and American alpine skier Lindsay Vonn are also in contention.
The winners will be selected by a board of 46 sporting legends, including Ian Botham, Michael Johnson and Jack Nicklaus, and will receive their awards during May and June.