Universal Studios' "A Beautiful Mind" led the way with five nominations -- including one for best picture. The critics nominated Russell Crowe for best actor for his performance as the emotionally troubled math genius and Nobel laureate John Forbes Nash Jr. Crowe won the best actor Oscar last year for "Gladiator."
New Line Cinema's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" had four nominations, including best picture, director (Peter Jackson), composer (Howard Shore) and song ("May It Be," Enya).
"Ali" (Columbia), "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (Warner Bros.), "In the Bedroom" (Miramax) and "Moulin Rouge" (20th Century Fox) received three nominations each. Among them, only "Harry Potter" did not make the BFCA list of 10 best picture nominees.
That list did include "The Man Who Wasn't There" (USA Films), "Memento" (Newmarket), "Mulholland Drive" (Universal), "The Shipping News" (Miramax) and "Shrek" (DreamWorks).
In addition to its best picture nomination, "Ali" received nominations for Will Smith for his portrayal of legendary heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali, and Jon Voight for his turn as ABC Sports commentator and Ali supporter Howard Cosell.
"Harry Potter" was nominated for best family film (live action), best young actor (Daniel Radcliffe in the title role) and best composer (John Williams, whose nomination also recognized his score for "A.I. Artificial Intelligence").
"In the Bedroom" -- which was voted best picture of 2001 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and is on the National Board of Review's list of the 10 best films of the year -- received best actress and supporting actress nominations from the BFCA for Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei.
"Moulin Rouge" -- the NBR's pick for best picture -- received a best actress nomination for Nicole Kidman and a best director nomination for Baz Luhrmann.
The nominees for best foreign language film are "Amelie," "In the Mood for Love" and "No Man's Land."
Neither the A-list nor the larger cohort of lesser-known filmmakers stood a chance of being significantly over represented in the BFCA nominations, since the group only chose three nominees per category -- with the exception of best picture and, this year anyway, best song.
The BFCA nominations announcement does little to clarify the Oscar race.
It does provide the strongest showing of the year for big studio films, with a best picture nomination for "The Shipping News" and another best picture nomination for "Shrek" -- which showed up Monday in the American Film Institute's list of 10 best picture nominees in the upcoming first annual AFI Awards.
The BFCA also nominated "Shrek" for best animated feature, along with "Monsters, Inc." and "Waking Life." The New York Film Critics Circle named "Waking Life" best animated picture, while "Shrek" took the prize from the NBR and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
The BFCA nominations offer more evidence that "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is earning more respect than "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" among awards voters.
What happens at the box office is another matter, and the first evidence of "Rings" commercial appeal will begin to materialize Wednesday when the picture opens nationwide. Through Sunday, "Harry Potter" had grossed $253.3 million, to become the 16th biggest U.S. box-office hit of all time.
The critics group also announced nominees Tuesday in several TV categories -- including "Band of Brothers," "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows" and "The Mists of Avalon" for best picture made for television.
Hank Azaria ("Uprising"), James Franco ("James Dean") and Barry Pepper ("61*") were nominated for best actor in a picture made for TV. Judy Davis ("Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows"), Salma Hayek ("In the Time of Butterflies") and Emma Thompson ("Wit") were nominated for best actress in a picture made for television.
The Critics' Choice Awards will be presented on Jan. 11 in Beverly Hills in ceremonies to be broadcast on E! Entertainment TV on Jan. 14.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]