The Civil War saga Lincoln, the musical Les Miserables and the Osama bin Laden thriller Zero Dark Thirty are among the nominees announced for the top honour from the Producers Guild of America.
Other best-picture contenders are the Iran hostage-crisis thriller Argo; the low-budget critical favourite Beasts of the Southern Wild; the slave-turned-bounty-hunter saga Django Unchained; the shipwreck story Life of Pi; the first-love tale Moonrise Kingdom; the lost-souls romance Silver Linings Playbook; and the James Bond adventure Skyfall.
Walt Disney dominated the guild's animation category with three of the five nominees: Brave, Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph.
The other nominees are Focus Features' ParaNorman and Paramount's Rise of the Guardians.
Along with honours from other Hollywood professional groups such as actors, directors and writers guilds, the producer prizes help sort out contenders for the Academy Awards. Those nominations come out on January 10.
The guild, an association of Hollywood producers, hands out its 24th annual prizes on January 26. The big winner often goes on to claim the best-picture honour at the Oscars, which follow on February 24.
Previously announced nominees by the Producers Guild for best documentary are A People Uncounted, The Gatekeepers, The Island President, The Other Dream Team and Searching for Sugar Man.
FULL LIST OF PRODUCERS GUILD NOMINEES:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
OUTSTANDING ANIMATED PICTURE
Rise of the Guardians
OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
A People Uncounted
The Island President
The Other Dream Team
Searching For Sugar Man
OUTSTANDING DIGITAL SERIES
30 Rock: The Webisodes (www.nbc.com)
Bravo’s Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen (www.bravotv.com)
Dexter Early Cuts: All in the Family (www.sho.com)
The Guild (www.watchtheguild.com)
H+ The Digital Series (www.youtube.com/user/HplusDigitalSeries)
OUTSTANDING TV DRAMA SERIES
Game of Thrones
OUTSTANDING TV COMEDY SERIES
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
OUTSTANDING LONG-FORM TELEVISION
American Horror Story
The Dust Bowl
Hatfields & McCoys
OUTSTANDING NON-FICTION TELEVISION
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Inside the Actors Studio
OUTSTANDING LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AND TALK TELEVISION
The Colbert Report
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
OUTSTANDING COMPETITION TELEVISION
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
OUTSTANDING SPORTS PROGRAM
The Fight with Jim Lampley
On Freddie Roach
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
OUTSTANDING CHILDREN'S PROGRAM
Good Luck Charlie
Phineas and Ferb
The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover