With seven nominations each, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle tied for the most Golden Globe nominations, as Hollywood's yearly awards race gets under way.

Released by 21st Century Fox Inc.'s Fox Searchlight Pictures, 12 Years a Slave received nominations for best drama, best director and best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association said today in Beverly Hills. American Hustle, from Sony Corp.'s Columbia Pictures, received nominations for best comedy and director.

Nebraska, a dramedy featuring Bruce Dern and Will Forte, got five nominations.

The nominations provide marketing ammunition for studios seeking to raise the profile of films, including some that haven't been widely released, ahead of the awards season, which culminates with the Oscars on March 2. The winner of the Golden Globe for best comedy or drama has won the Academy Award for best motion picture in two of the last three years, including the 2013 pick, Argo.

"The Globes are a warm-up for the Oscars," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak Corp., said in an interview. "At the very least, it's a prelude for movies to get the attention of audiences ahead of the Oscars." Winners will be announced Jan. 12 at the 70th Annual Golden Globes broadcast on Comcast Corp.'s NBC.

American Hustle, scheduled for release this weekend, features Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence in a fictionalized account of the FBI's Abscam sting in the late 1970s. Bale and Adams were both nominated for their roles as best actor and actress in a comedy.

Set in antebellum U.S., 12 Years a Slave tells the story of a free black man (played by Ejiofor) abducted in New York and sold to a cruel slave owner (portrayed by Michael Fassbender). The movie has recorded $35 million in U.S. box-office sales since its Oct. 18 release. The picture has yet to tap international markets.

Other nominations for best drama include Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena, and Rush.

Other nominations for best actor in a comedy include Dern for Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for Wolf of Wall Street, Oscar Isaac for Inside Llewyn Davis, and Joaquin Phoenix for Her.

Idris Elba was nominated for best actor in a drama for his role as Nelson Mandela on Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, from Weinstein Co. Nominations also went to Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, and Robert Redford in All is Lost.

Other nominations in the category for best actress in a comedy went to Julie Delpy for Before Midnight, Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha, Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Enough Said, and Meryl Streep for August: Osage County.

David O. Russell, director of American Hustle, will face competition for best directing from Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, and Alexander Payne for Nebraska.

Nominations for best TV drama went to Breaking Bad on AMC, Downton Abbey on PBS, CBS's The Good Wife, Netflix Inc.'s House of Cards, and Masters of Sex on Showtime.