Kenny Chesney (search), Alison Krauss (search) and Gretchen Wilson (search) all received five nominations each, while Toby Keith (search), Brad Paisley (search) and Keith Urban (search) had four apiece.
Keith announced the nominees Thursday.
Besides entertainer of the year, McGraw is nominated for top male vocalist, single of the year, song of the year, album of the year and video of the year. He also gets producer credits in two of those categories.
Most of his nominations stem from his hit single "Live Like You Were Dying," a song about living life to its fullest that McGraw says has special meaning because his father, former Mets and Phillies relief pitcher Tug McGraw, died of cancer last year.
Four of Krauss' five nominations are for "Whiskey Lullaby," a haunting duet with Paisley. She also is nominated with her band Union Station for top vocal group.
Wilson, a newcomer with a rowdy sound, had the breakout hit of the year with "Redneck Woman." She is nominated for top female vocalist, top new artist, single of the year, album of the year and video of the year.
Big & Rich, Rascal Flatts and Lee Ann Womack received three nominations each.
Like Wilson, Big & Rich are an act that emerged from the Muzik Mafia, a loose-knit group of musicians who jammed in Nashville night clubs. The duo melds rap and rock beats with country and is nominated for top new artist, top vocal duo and video of the year.
The awards show will be broadcast live May 17 on CBS.