Besides Day-Lewis in the title role of "Lincoln" and Washington in "Flight," nominees for dramatic actor are Richard Gere for "Arbitrage," John Hawkes for "The Sessions" and Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master."
"Zero Dark Thirty" star Chastain is joined in the dramatic-actress field by Marion Cotillard for "Rust and Bone," Helen Mirren for "Hitchcock," Naomi Watts for "The Impossible" and Rachel Weisz for "The Deep Blue Sea."
The acting categories have a nice mix of studio fare and indie films made on a shoestring, among them "The Sessions," an unusual story of a man (Hawkes) in an iron lung who aims to lose his virginity with help from a sex surrogate (supporting-actress nominee Helen Hunt). It's the first feature film since the mid-1990s from writer-director Ben Lewin.
"It is a Cinderella story when it is a tiny movie made by a director who hasn't had a movie in a long time, produced by his wife, paid for by friends and family," Hunt said. "For that kind of movie to be talked about next to all these big fancy movies, that's a real testament to what the director did."
There will be some friendly rivalry among the hosts at the Globe ceremony, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Both were nominated for best actress in a TV comedy, Fey for "30 Rock" and Poehler for "Parks and Recreation."
The Sarah Palin drama "Game Change" leads TV contenders with five nominations: best movie or miniseries and acting honors for Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris and Sarah Paulson. "Homeland" was next with four: best drama series and acting nominations for Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin.
Presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 90 reporters covering entertainment for overseas outlets, the Globes have a reputation as a loose gathering where stars share drinks and dinner — and sometimes cut loose a bit more than they might at the stately Oscars.
"Everybody always says, and it's absolutely true, it's the most fun of the ceremonies," said Field, a two-time Oscar winner who's nominated for supporting actress as Mary Todd Lincoln in "Lincoln." ''It becomes slightly irreverent in its way. The fact that it's a dinner, and they make sure they ply you with as much alcohol as they can. Luckily, my category is one of the earliest ones up, so whatever happens, I'll be all right."
AP Entertainment Writers Sandy Cohen, Derrik Lang, Christy Lemire and Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.