Get Out, written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele, earned six nominations including for movie of the year, best actor for star Daniel Kaluuya, best villain and a new category called "best fight against the system."
'We're living in a golden age of content, and great storytelling and characters resonate regardless of whether you're watching it in a theatre or on TV.' - Chris McCarthy, MTV president
Previously known as the MTV Movie Awards, the youth-orientated network widened the categories of its annual show to include television for the first time.
This year's show will air live from Los Angeles on May 7 and will be hosted by Adam DeVine of the Pitch Perfect movies and Comedy Central's Workaholics series.
"We're living in a golden age of content, and great storytelling and characters resonate regardless of whether you're watching it in a theatre or on TV," Chris McCarthy, president of MTV, said in a statement.
Move to gender-neutral categories
MTV, known for its irreverent awards shows, also replaced its former best actor and actress categories with the all-embracing, gender-neutral "best actor in a movie" and "best actor in a show."
The changes produced a list of nominations on Thursday that included Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke competing for best actor in a show against Donald Glover of Atlanta and Mandy Moore from This is Us.
The fan favourite best kiss category included nods for the teenage same-sex embrace between Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome in the Oscar-winning movie Moonlight, and for Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard from TV hip-hop industry drama Empire.
Scoring three nominations each were TV shows Atlanta, Game of Thrones and This is Us, along with movies Hidden Figures, Logan and Moonlight.
The MTV awards show features the stars of blockbuster productions and has established itself as a laid-back antidote to Hollywood's awards season, which tends to honor more serious fare. Winners are chosen by fans voting online.
New categories this year include best American story, for a TV show or movie that showcases America at its "open and diverse" best. MTV said "best fight against the system" (formerly best fight) will recognize the TV show or movie whose characters exemplify a fight "against a system that tries to keep them down."