Four Washington-based publications were nominated yesterday for 1984 National Magazine Awards by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Washingtonian magazine received nominations in two categories of the prestigious awards. "Where Have All the Warriors Gone?," a July 1984 article by Nick Kotz, Nancy B. Nathan and Catharine Donohoe, garnered a public-service nomination. "How to Save Your Life," a March article by John Pekkanen, earned a nomination for service to the individual.

Of the other local finalists, Smithsonian magazine was nominated for general excellence among magazines with circulations of more than 1 million, Regardie's received a nomination for general excellence in the under-100,000 circulation category, and Science 84 was nominated for its single-topic issue in November, "Twenty Discoveries That Changed Our Lives."

The winners will be announced at an April 23 ceremony in New York.

Esquire, with four nominations, and Life, with three, topped the list of finalists. Time magazine received two nominations, as did Interview and The Georgia Review.

Esquire was nominated for fiction, reporting, essays and criticism, and single-topic issue. Life was nominated for public service, photography and single-topic issue. Time was nominated for general excellence and service to the individual.

Gregg Easterbrook, a Washington correspondent for The Atlantic, was nominated in the reporting category for his December article, "What's Wrong With Congress?" Richard Ben Cramer was nominated twice in the reporting category for pieces in Esquire and Rolling Stone. Tobias Wolff was nominated twice in the fiction category for short stories in Esquire and The Atlantic.

* The nominees and their categories:

General Excellence, circulation under 100,000: The American Lawyer, Interview, The Paris Review, Regardie's, The Sciences, Manhattan, inc.

General Excellence, circulation 100,000 to 400,000: American Heritage, American Journal of Nursing, The New York Review of Books, Outside, Texas Monthly.

General Excellence, circulation 400,000 to 1 million: American Health, Cuisine, Forbes, House & Garden, The New Yorker.

General Excellence, circulation more than 1 million: Better Homes and Gardens, People, Seventeen, Smithsonian, Time.

Public Service: Foreign Affairs, Life, Personal Computing, Scientific American, Technology Review, Washingtonian.

Design: Avenue, Forbes, Interview, Sports Afield, Washington.

Fiction: The Atlantic, Esquire, The Georgia Review, Mademoiselle, Playboy.

Reporting: The Atlantic, Esquire, Institutional Investor, New England Monthly, Rolling Stone, Texas Monthly.

Essays and Criticism: Boston, Esquire, The Georgia Review, The Nation, The New York Review of Books.

Single-Topic Issue: American Heritage, Esquire, Life, People, Science 84.

Service to the Individual: Consumer Reports, D, Nursing84, Rolling Stone, Time, Washingtonian.

Photography: American Photographer, House & Garden, Life, Progressive Architecture, Sports Illustrated.