The large hauls for the historical epic and con-artist caper suggest the films may be this year's Oscar favorites.
Nominations for "12 Years a Slave" included best film drama, Chiwetel Ejiofor for best actor in a drama and Steve McQueen for best director.
"American Hustle" dominated in the comedy or musical category. The film, which portrays a fictionalized account of the FBI's Abscam investigation in the late 1970s, received nominations for best movie comedy, Christian Bale for best actor in a comedy, Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress in a comedy and David O. Russell for best director.
Also included in the comedy mix are Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," Spike Jonze's "Her" and the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis."
Along with a best picture nod, Scorsese's four-hour financial industry extravaganza included a leading performance nomination for Leonardo DiCaprio.
"Nebraska" wasn't too far from the lead with five nominations, including best actor for Bruce Dern. "Gravity" and "Captain Phillips" earned four nominations each.
Along with "12 Years a Slave," the dramatic best picture category also included "Captain Phillips," ''Gravity," ''Philomena" and "Rush." Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity," which also received a nomination for Sandra Bullock, will surely benefit more from the Academy Awards' technical categories, which the Globes don't honor.
Most notably shutout was "Lee Daniels' The Butler," the Civil Rights history told through a long-serving White House butler played by Forest Whitaker.
The nominations were announced by Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Aziz Ansari Thursday morning at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The awards ceremony will be held Jan. 12 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
The last two years, one of the Globes' best-picture winners went on to top the Academy Awards. Last year, the Globes awarded Ben Affleck's "Argo" best picture for drama. The year before that, the silent film ode "The Artist" won best picture for a comedy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.