All three will compete for the honour of video of the year, with Beyonce earning a bid for Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), Lady Gaga for Poker Face and Britney Spears for Womaniser.
They square off against rappers Kanye West with Love Lockdown and Eminem for We Made You in the video of the year race.
Honours will be given out at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on September 13 in a show hosted by British prankster Russell Brand.
Beyonce has enjoyed a hugely successful solo career since leaving the all-female group Destiny’s Child. Her third solo album, I Am ... Sasha Fierce, had the No. 1 hit Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).
“I’ve been blessed this year to have Single Ladies become a video people really connected with and responded to,” Beyonce said in a statement released by MTV.
The annual awards are one of the cable TV channel’s most-watched programmes, as much for the celebrity antics and performances as the awards themselves.
At the height of Spears’ early career in 2003, she and Madonna famously kissed on the show.
Later her personal life veered out of control and her father took control of her business affairs.
But recently she has rebounded.
Spears is currently on tour and her video for the song Circus was nominated for best choreography.
New Yorker Lady Gaga’s 2008 debut album, The Fame, included the hit single Just Dance and was among the top five CDs in several countries, including the US and Britain.
Poker Face earned Lady Gaga not only a video of the year nomination but also a nod for best female video, a category that pits her against Katy Perry with Hot N Cold, Beyonce with Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), Kelly Clarkson with My Life Would Suck Without You, Taylor Swift with You Belong With Me and Pink with So What.
Lady Gaga thanked MTV “for being our video flagship, and for supporting this bunch of inspired kids, who love to get wasted and make art, together.”
Eminem (We Made You) and Kanye West (Love Lockdown) will square off in the best male video category against hip hop star Jay-Z with D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune), rapper T.I. (featuring Rihanna) with his Live Your Life and Ne-Yo with Miss Independent.
First-time nominees include US rockers Kings of Leon as well as rappers Drake and Asher Roth.
Both rappers were nominated in the best new artist category.
Other categories include best hip hop video, best pop video and best rock video.