LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Hunger Games" and "Bridesmaids" will battle for the upcoming MTV Movie Awards as each landed eight nominations on Tuesday to edge out "The Twilight Saga," which picked up only two nods for the widely-watched television program.
Post-apocalyptic action film "The Hunger Games," which has stormed box offices with $600 million in ticket sales, earned nods for movie of the year and best cast. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth landed in the best actress, actor and breakthrough performance categories, respectively.
Not to be outdone in the hunt for MTV's golden box of popcorn trophy, female-led comedy "Bridesmaids" picked up nominations for movie of the year and best cast, while the film's writer and star Kristen Wiig scored best actress and best comedic performance nods.
Lawrence and Wiig will be up against Emma Stone, Emma Watson and Rooney Mara for best actress, while Hutcherson will be competing with Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling for best actor.
Joining "Hunger Games" and "Bridesmaids" in the best movie race is civil-rights drama "The Help," the final installment of the "Harry Potter" films, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1."
"The Twilight Saga" picked up only one other nod in the best kiss category for stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, proving to be a snub after the popular series' third film, "Eclipse," led with eight nominations and five wins last year.
Stewart and Pattinson have strong contenders in the best kiss category this year from Lawrence and Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games," Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams in "The Vow," Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in "Harry Potter," and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in "Crazy, Stupid, Love."
The MTV Movie Awards, which this year take place in Los Angeles on June 3, annually are among the youth-oriented cable TV channel's most-watched programs, and they serve as a launch pad for many of Hollywood's movie summer blockbuster films aimed mostly at young audiences.
Unlike film awards from industry and critics groups, the MTV show offers irreverent categories like best kiss and best fight, which this year includes nominees from "21 Jump Street," "Harry Potter," "The Hunger Games," "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" and "Warrior."
Fans vote online in 12 categories and a group of directors pick the winner of the breakthrough performance category, where Hemsworth will compete with Elle Fanning, Melissa McCarthy, Rooney Mara and Shailene Woodley.
New categories for 2012 include best movie cast, best music, best on-screen dirtbag and gut-wrenching performance, which features nominations from "21 Jump Street," "Bridesmaids," "Drive," "The Help" and "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol."
While MTV has yet to announce a host for the 2012 Movie Awards, New York indie-pop band fun. will be performing at the show.
(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)