Running true to form in the preliminary heat of the 1982 Academy Awards race, the reverential biographical epic "Gandhi," the transvestite farce "Tootsie" and the sentimental fantasy "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" emerged as the leading contenders for eventual Oscar recognition. According to results announced yesterday in Los Angeles by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, "Gandhi" received 11 nominations, closely followed by "Tootsie" with 10 and "E.T." with nine. Competing with the three pace setters for the ultimate Oscar, best motion picture of 1982, will be the political thriller "Missing" and the courtroom melodrama "The Verdict." The winners will be revealed at the 55th annual Oscar ceremony, scheduled for Monday, April 11.

Achieving a rare distinction, Jessica Lange became only the fourth performer in Academy history, and the first in nearly 40 years, to be nominated as both a leading and a supporting player. In the best actress category, her performance in the title role of "Frances" faces perhaps insurmountable competition from Meryl Streep (a 1979 Oscar winner as best supporting actress in "Kramer vs. Kramer") in "Sophie's Choice," as well as serious challenges from Debra Winger in "An Officer and a Gentleman" and Sissy Spacek (a previous winner in this category for "Coal Miner's Daughter") in "Missing." The fifth nominee, Julie Andrews for "Victor Victoria," seems to reflect the inevitable tendency of Academy members to Have Their Little Jokes from category to category. Andrews won the best-actress award of 1964 for "Mary Poppins."

Lange probably will be considered the favorite for the Oscar as best supporting actress. Nominated for her performance in "Tootsie," she'll compete with "Tootsie" costar Teri Garr, Glenn Close as the domineering mother in "The World According to Garp," Kim Stanley as the domineering mother of "Frances" and Lesley Ann Warren as a vintage tootsie in "Victor Victoria." Precedent favors Lange's bid in this category. On each occasion when performers have been nominated in both acting categories, they have failed to win as a lead while winning as a supporting player..

This year's best-actor category presents an intriguing contest between British newcomer Ben Kingsley, whose impersonation of Gandhi carries a ponderous production singlehandedly, and a pair of frequently nominated stars who have yet to win the award, Paul Newman and Peter O'Toole, nominated for "The Verdict" and "My Favorite Year," respectively. The current nomination is Newman's sixth and O'Toole's seventh. Two previous winners in the category, Dustin Hoffman and Jack Lemmon, were also nominated for their work in "Tootsie" and "Missing," respectively. Hoffman won his Oscar three years ago for "Kramer vs. Kramer." Lemmon won as supporting actor in 1955 for "Mr. Roberts" and then as best actor in 1973 for "Save the Tiger." This year's nomination is his sixth in the leading-man category.

Another pair of respected veterans, James Mason and Robert Preston, should be regarded as co-favorites for best supporting actor. Mason was cited for his performance as Newman's courtroom rival in "The Verdict" and Preston for his comic turn as a debonair homosexual entertainer in "Victor Victoria." The competition in the category looks very strong: Louis Gossett Jr. was nominated for his performance as the Marine drill instructor in "An Officer and a Gentleman," along with Charles Durning as the soft-shoe political smoothie in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and John Lithgow as a transsexual jock in "The World According to Garp."

The nominations for best direction echoed four of the finalists for best movie. Richard Attenborough was nominated for "Gandhi," along with Steven Spielberg for "E.T.," Sydney Pollack for "Tootsie" and Sidney Lumet for "The Verdict." The wild-card choice was Wolfgang Petersen for the German epic of submarine warfare, "Das Boot," which made a strong overall showing with six nominations in various categories.

Petersen emerged as a double nominee, in fact. His adaptation of "Das Boot" will contend for the award as best screenplay derived from material from another medium with "Missing" (Costa-Gavras and Donald Stewart), "Sophie's Choice" (Alan J. Pakula), "The Verdict" (David Mamet) and "Victor Victoria" (Blake Edwards). The candidates for best original screenplay are "Diner" by Barry Levinson, "E.T." by Melissa Mathison, "Gandhi" by John Briley, "An Officer and a Gentleman" by Douglas Day Stewart and "Tootsie," officially credited to Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal and Don McGuire, although perhaps three times as many writers contributed to the finished product in one way or another.

The foreign language committee, always good for a bewildering choice or two, overlooked a pair of lavishly acclaimed imports, Hungary's "Time Stands Still" and Italy's "The Night of the Shooting Stars," while reducing the candidates for best foreign language film to France's "Coup de Torchon," Sweden's "Flight of the Eagle," Nicaragua's "Alsino and the Condor," Spain's "To Begin Again" and the Soviet Union's "Private Life."

Final ballots will be mailed to eligible Academy members March 26 and must be returned by April 5. Three special awards were previously announced: a career Oscar for Mickey Rooney, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for producer Walter Mirisch and the Gordon Sawyer Award for scientific and technical contributions to sound engineer John O. Aalberg. The total number of competitive categories increased to two dozen this year with the addition of sound effects editing, a three-way contest among Mike Le Mare for "Das Boot," Charles Campbell and Ben Burtt for "E.T.," and Stephen Hunter Flick and Richard Anderson for "Poltergeist." The nominations in all other categories:

Original Score:John Williams for "E.T.," Ravi Shankar and George Fenton for "Gandhi," Jack Nitzsche for "An Officer and a Gentleman," Jerry Goldsmith for "Poltergeist," Marvin Hamlisch for "Sophie's Choice."

Adapted Score: Ralph Burns for "Annie," Tom Waits for "One From the Heart," Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse for "Victor Victoria."

Song: Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan III for "Eye of the Tiger" from "Rocky III," Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman for "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" from "Best Friends," John Williams and the Bergmans for "If We Were in Love" from "Yes, Giorgio," Dave Grusin and the Bergmans for "It Might Be You" from "Tootsie," Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Will Jennings for "Up Where We Belong" from "An Officer and a Gentleman."

Cinematography: Jost Vacano for "Das Boot," Allen Daviau for "E.T.," Billy Williams and Ronnie Taylor for "Gandhi," Nestor Almendros for "Sophie's Choice," Owen Roizman for "Tootsie."

Film Editing: Hannes Nikel for "Das Boot," Carol Littleton for "E.T.," John Bloom for "Gandhi," Peter Zinner for "An Officer and a Gentleman," Fredric and William Steinkamp for "Tootsie."

Art Direction: Dale Hennesy and Marvin March for "Annie"; Lawrence Paull, David Snyder and Linda DeScenna for "The Blade Runner"; Stuart Craig, Bob Laing and Michael Seirton for "Gandhi"; Franco Zeffirelli and Gianni Quaranta for "La Traviata"; Rodger Maus, Tim Hutchinson, William Craig Smith and Harry Cordwell for "Victor Victoria."

Costume Design: John Mollo and Bhanu Athaiya for "Gandhi," Piero Tosi for "La Traviata," Albert Wolsky for "Sophie's Choice," Elois Jenssen and Rosanna Norton for "TRON," Patricia Norris for "Victor Victoria."

Makeup: Tom Smith for "Gandhi," Sarah Monzani and Michele Burke for "Quest for Fire."

Sound: Milan Bor, Trevor Pyke and Mike Le Mare for "Das Boot"; Buzz Knudson, Robert Glass, Don Digirolamo and Gene Cantamessa for "E.T."; Gerry Humphreys, Robin O'Donoghue, Jonathan Bates and Simon Kaye for "Gandhi"; Arthur Piantadosi, Les Fresholtz, Dick Alexander and Les Lazarowitz for "Tootsie"; Michael Minkler, Bob Minkler, Lee Minkler and Jim La Rue for "TRON."

Visual Effects: Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer for "The Blade Runner"; Carlo Rambaldi, Dennis Murren and Kenneth Smith for "E.T."; Richard Edlund, Michael Wood and Bruce Nicholson for "Poltergeist."

Documentary Feature: "After the Axe," Sturla Gunnarsson and Steve Lucas; "Ben's Mill," John Karol and Michel Chalufour; "In Our Water," Meg Switzgable; "Just Another Missing Kid," John Zaritsky; "A Portrait of Giselle," Joseph Wishy.

Documentary Short: "Gods of Metal," Robert Richter; "If You Love This Planet," Edward Le Lorrain; "The Klan: A Legacy of Hate in America," Charles Guggenheim and Werner Schumann; "To Live or Let Die," Freida Lee Mock; "Traveling Hopefully," John Avildsen.

Animated Short: "The Great Cognito," Will Vinton; "The Snowman," John Coates; "Tango," Zbigniew Rybczynaki.

Live-Action Short: "Ballet Robotique," Bob Rogers; "A Shocking Accident," Christine Oestreicher; "The Silence," Michael Toshiyuki Uno and Joseph Benson of the AFI; "Split Cherry Tree," Jan Saunders; "Sredni Vashtar," Andrew Birkin.