Nobody looks to major awards ceremonies to challenge their preconceptions; when you get the Golden Globe or Academy Award nominations, they're generally the safest, most predictable choices available.
Smaller awards shows like the Critics' Choice Awards, then, tend to be somewhat less predictable, appealing to more populist choices that don't get consideration for more "serious" awards. And that's how we end up with both Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 nominated in the just-announced Best Action in an Action Movie category.
Iron Man 3 also took in nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Action Movie and Best Actress in an Action Movie, but since Man of Steel wasn't a huge hit with the critics, it's really just Henry Cavill who got the nod for the latest iteration of Superman.
Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug all got nominations, too, with American Hustle--which stars comic book movie stars Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams--topped all films with 12 nominations.