Amy Winehouse and Alt-J head best of British list

The acclaimed indie-rock band Alt-J will compete against boyband sensations One Direction at the 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 10.

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.

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.

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.

James Corden, criticised for cutting short Adele's acceptance speech last year, returns to host the Brit Awards, which are held on 20 February.