The acclaimed indie-rock band Alt-J will compete against boyband sensations One Direction at the 2013 Brit Awards after leading the field with a trio of nominations for the UK music industry’s showpiece event.
Already winners of the Mercury prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave, the four-piece, who met at university in Leeds in 2007 and are now based in Cambridge, are tipped for further recognition at next month’s awards.
They are nominated for Best Group – a category which includes Muse and The xx – as well as the Mastercard Album of the Year and Breakthrough categories.
The exposure Alt-J receive at the awards, broadcast live on ITV from the O2 Arena, may help An Awesome Wave, released on the independent Infectious label last May, finally break into the top ten.
Amy Winehouse receives a surprise posthumous nomination in the Female Solo Artist category, 18 months after the singer’s death.
Winehouse is recognised for Hidden Treasures, the album of remixed recordings and material intended for the third studio collection which she never completed.
Profits from the album, which topped the chart in December 2011, go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, set up to help disadvantaged young people.
Winehouse, who died from alcohol poisoning, a second inquest has confirmed, won the Female category in 2007 for her Back To Black album.
Paloma Faith, the flamboyant Hackney-born singer whose live performances mix cabaret and jazz makes a breakthrough with two nominations. Her Fall To Grace collection of break-up songs is nominated for best Album after selling 500,000 copies.
Emeli Sandé, the Scottish soul singer whose debut album Our Version Of Events became the year’s best-seller, receives three nominations. The folk-rock band Mumford & Sons also appear in a trio of categories.
However One Direction, the X Factor-created band who took America by storm, may consider themselves unlucky to receive just one nomination, for Best Group.
Artists have been given increased representation on the Brits voting panel, in order to add “credibility” to the winners. This may account for One Direction’s failure to secure an Album of the Year nomination, despite selling 600,000 copies of their Take Me Home record.
Plan B receives two nominations but the Brits may face criticism for a lack of artists from the UK’s thriving rap and urban music scene.
Jake Bugg, the 18 year-old singer-songwriter from Nottingham, whose chart-topping debut album drew comparisons to Bob Dylan and Arctic Monkeys, receives a Breakthrough nomination, alongside Jessie Ware, the dubstep/soul singer who also competes for British Female.
Richard Hawley, the Sheffield rocker, receives a nomination for Best Male, five years after his last nomination, following the success of his psychedelia-tinged album, Standing At The Sky’s Edge.
Adele could complete a “grand-slam” of award wins in February – Her Bond theme Skyfall is nominated for Best Single on the same day it also received an Oscar Best Song nomination. She is also competing in the Grammy awards, with all three events taking place within a fortnight.
The International Brits categories feature a battle for Best Female between newcomer Lana Del Rey, indie veteran Cat Power and Rihanna, who is hoping to secure a hat-trick of wins.
Taylor Swift, the US country-pop star whose recent break-up with One Direction frontman Harry Styles has dominated tabloid gossip pages, is also nominated.
Damon Albarn, who re-joined Blur to win the Outstanding Contribution to Music prize last year, is nominated in the Producer category for his collaboration with Bobby Womack.
The Rolling Stones, nominated at the first Brit awards in 1977, return with a nod for Best Live act following their two performances at the O2 Arena.
Robbie Williams’ reign as “king of the Brits” could be coming to an end. The winner of 17 Brits receives just one nomination, for best Single, despite making a “comeback” with his Take The Crown album.
One Direction, Adele and Mumford & Sons will compete for a new prize, the Global Success Award, designed to recognise the UK act which has the highest international sales.
Chichester singer Tom Odell, who is signed to Lily Allen’s record label, will receive the Critic’s Choice award, which last year helped catapult Emeli Sandé to fame.
A spokesman for HMV said the awards should boost album sales, which slipped once again in 2012. “Emeli Sandé was always in the right place at the right time in 2012, not least the London Olympics ceremonies, which helped introduce her to a massive worldwide audience. Emeli already has the biggest-selling album of 2012, but I suspect she'll shift a few more copies now.”
He added: “It's a little surprising that One Direction didn't pick up a couple more nominations given their amazing year, which has seen them conquer America, but sometimes pop sensations tend to miss out to more Rock and Urban offerings.”
James Corden, criticised for cutting short Adele’s acceptance speech last year, returns to host the Brit Awards, which are held on February 20.
Brit Awards 2013 Nominations
British Breakthrough Act
British Female Solo Artist
Bat for Lashes
British Male Solo Artist
Mumford & Sons
MasterCard British Album of the Year
Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Emeli Sandé - Our Version Of Events
Mumford & Sons - Babel
Paloma Faith - Fall To Grace
Plan B - Ill Manors
British LIVE Act
Mumford & Sons
The Rolling Stones
BRITs Global Success Award
The winner will be announced at the show on Wednesday 20th February
British Producer of the Year
Based on the biggest sales in 2012
Adele - Skyfall
Alex Clare - Too Close
Coldplay & Rihanna - Princess of China
DJ Fresh Ft Rita Ora - Hot Right Now
Emeli Sandé - Next To Me
Florence & The Machine - Spectrum
James Arthur - Impossible
Jessie J - Domino
Labrinth Ft Emeli Sandé - Beneath Your Beautiful
Olly Murs Ft Flo Rida - Troublemaker
Rita Ora Ft Tinie Tempah - R.I.P.
Rizzle Kicks - Mama Do The Hump
Robbie Williams - Candy
Rudimental Ft John Newman - Feel The Love
Stooshe - Black Heart
International Female Solo Artist
Lana Del Rey
The Black Keys
International Male Solo Artist
Special Recognition Award
War Child charity
Tom Odell - Winner
Who do you think should win? Vote here.