Los Angeles: Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp - Hollywood's top-grossing leading man this year - led the field of People's Choice Award contenders announced on Tuesday as he snatched up three nominations.
Depp, the flamboyant buccaneer Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, was nominated as favorite male movie star, along with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, and clinched a separate bid as best male action star, competing in that category with Samuel L Jackson and Jet Li.
Depp, 43, voted favorite male star last year, shared a third nomination with Pirates co-star Keira Knightley in the category for favorite on-screen match-up.
RACE FOR THE BEST: Depp was nominated as favorite male movie star, along with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.
Dead Man's Chest ranks as the highest-grossing film of 2006, raking in nearly $422 million domestically and more than $1 billion worldwide in theatrical ticket sales.
The film was a sequel to 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which earned Depp his first Oscar nomination for his Jack Sparrow performance, one of the signature roles of his career.
Unlike the Oscars and other entertainment awards in which nominees and winners are chosen by industry peers, the People's Choice Awards are determined by the public.
In previous years, polling for the awards was conducted by the Gallup Organisation.
This year and last, Web-based market research group Knowledge Networks recruited a sample of "pop culture-involved" men and women to nominate their favorites from pre-selected candidates in various categories.
The top three selections for each category became nominees, and the winners will be chosen by a majority of online votes cast at the Web site www.pcavote.com.
The 33rd Annual People's Choice Awards will be presented on January 9, 2007 in a nationally televised ceremony. Other multiple nominees this year include Halle Berry, who starred in the blockbuster, X-Men: The Last Stand, and picked up bids in two categories.
The Oscar winner faces off against Jennifer Aniston and last year's winner, Sandra Bullock, in the race for favorite female movie star.
Berry's competitors in the race for favorite female action star are Kate Beckinsale and Uma Thurman. Aniston also shared a nomination with Vince Vaughn, her off-screen paramour and co-star in The Break-Up, in the race for best on-screen match-up, while Vaughn picked up a second nomination as favorite leading man, competing with Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.
Damon and his The Departed co-stars Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio rounded out the roster of nominees in the favorite match-up category.
Country stars dominated the nominations for favorite male and female singers, with Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Trace Adkins, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith among the contenders vying in those categories.
Nominated for favorite musical group were Black Eyed Peas, Nickelback and Red Hot Chili Peppers.