Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the rumored Hollywood paramours who co-starred in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” led the field of People’s Choice Award contenders announced Thursday with three nominations each.
Jolie was nominated as favorite female movie star, along with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, and clinched a separate bid as favorite female action star, competing in that category against Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Garner.
The Oscar-winning actress shared a third nomination with Pitt in the category for favorite on-screen matchup.
Pitt also picked up bids for favorite male action star and favorite leading man.
He and Jolie, who played married assassins ordered to kill each other in the box-office hit, have been romantically linked in media reports since last year, and the rumors heated up after Pitt and ex-wife Jennifer Aniston split in January.
Pitt and Aniston’s divorce became final in October, not long after he and Jolie were photographed together with Jolie’s adopted children in Canada. More recent pictures showed the two performers and her kids on the beach at his Malibu home.
The multiple nominations of both Jolie and Pitt raised the prospect that they might arrive together at the Jan. 10 awards presentation, which will be televised on CBS.
In April, the two stars topped People magazine’s list of the year’s “50 Most Beautiful People.”
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 Organization.
This year, Web-based market research group Knowledge Networks recruited a group of “pop-culture-involved” men and women aged 18 to 54 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.
Sandler, Rock get nodsOther multiple nominees include comic actors Adam Sandler and Chris Rock, going head to head in the race for “favorite funny male star” against Will Smith.
Rock and Sandler also were nominated together as best ”match-up” for their work in “The Longest Yard” against Pitt-Jolie in “Smith” and Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in ”Wedding Crashers.”
In addition, Sandler will vie for the title of favorite leading man against Pitt and Jamie Foxx, while the television sitcom produced and narrated by Rock, “Everybody Hates Chris,” was nominated as favorite new TV comedy.
Comedian Ray Romano snagged two TV nominations for his hit show, “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which ended its nine-year run on CBS in May and won an Emmy Award in September as best comedy series.
In music, nominees for favorite female performers were country star Faith Hill, pop singer Gwen Stefani and “American Idol” veteran Kelly Clarkson.
Their male counterparts are R&B star Usher and country crooners Toby Keith and Tim McGraw. Nominated for favorite group was the hip-hop ensemble Black Eyed Peas, R&B trio Destiny’s Child and punk-pop group Green Day.