Both films will compete with Beasts of the Southern Wild, Bernie and Keep the Lights On for Best Feature, while filmmakers David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom) have each earned nods for Best Director, alongside Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On) and Julia Loktev (The Loneliest Planet).
The two movies will also battle for the Best Screenplay honour - Anderson and Roman Coppola will face off with Russell, Sachs, Zoe Kazan for Ruby Sparks, and Martin McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths.
Silver Linings Playbook has also landed acting accolades for its lead stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Also nominated in the Best Male Lead category is Jack Black (Bernie), Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe), Thure Lindhardt (Keep the Lights On) and John Hawkes (The Sessions), while Lawrence is joined in the female equivalent by Linda Cardellini (Return), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed) and Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
In addition, Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice), Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths) and Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom) have all scored nods in the Best Supporting categories.
Meanwhile, filmmaker Sean Baker's Stella will receive the annual Robert Altman Award, which recognises the director, casting director and ensemble cast.
Keep the Lights On, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Middle of Nowhere each received a total of four nominations when the shortlist was announced on Tuesday (27Nov12).
To be eligible for an Independent Spirit nod, all films must have been made for less than $20 million (£12.5 million). Movies must have either screened at a major film festival including Sundance, Toronto or the Los Angeles Film Festival or run for at least a week at a commercial theatre.
The winners will be unveiled at a ceremony in California on 23 February (13) - on the eve of the 2013 Academy Awards.