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<p>&quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;Magic Mike&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Keep the Lights On&quot; all founds some love from the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards nominations.</p>

"Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Magic Mike" and "Keep the Lights On" all founds some love from the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards nominations.

2013 Independent Spirit Awards nominations winners and losers

"Beasts of the Southern Wild," Ezra Miller, Matthew McConaughey and more

As always, the Spirits are an intriguing beast. Originally a fly by the seat of your pants awards show meant to give exposure to indie films they couldn't find anywhere else the Spirits have morphed into a prestigious honor that people in the industry actually care about. This year it appears the nominating committees got it mostly right. Sure, there's that always sticky $20 million or less budget figure qualification no one wants to pay attention to (until they do) and some blatant omissions here and there.  But, at the end of the day the Spirits still provide an important platform for new filmmakers to make their mark with moviegoers and the larger movie industry.  Taking that into account, here are the winners and losers after the announcement of the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards nominees this morning.

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<p>I have that exact chessboard.</p>

I have that exact chessboard.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Bryan Singer confirms McKellen and Stewart returning for 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past'

Project shaping up as the ultimate 'X-Men' film so far

Well, imagine that.

Ever since they announced that the newest film in Fox's X-Men series would be called "Days Of Future Past," fans have been waiting to see how one of the most popular and enduring storylines from the comic would be adapted, and how it might unite the first three films in the series with "X-Men: First Class," and now Bryan Singer has revealed some casting news that is very exciting.

Earlier this morning, Singer posted the following to his Twitter account:

"I'd like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender & Nicholas Hoult to #XMEN for #DaysOfFuturePast"

Great.  Fassbender and Lawrence are on fire right now career-wise, so I'm glad they've worked out deals to make sure they play Magneto and Mystique again.  I think they were both vital parts of making "X-Men: First Class" work in the first place, and they are important parts of the story moving forward.

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<p>Can you believe this is still the only image we've seen from 'Star Trek Into Darkness'?</p>

Can you believe this is still the only image we've seen from 'Star Trek Into Darkness'?

Credit: Paramount Pictures

An official synopsis for 'Star Trek Into Darkness' offers more hints about the villain

And yet we still know almost nothing for sure

It is amazing to me that we are this close to the release of "Star Trek Into Darkness" and no one has been able to confirm the identity of the bad guy in the film so far.

There was a period of time where everyone was absolutely sure that Khan was going to be the villain again, and even when I got JJ Abrams to state on the record that he was not going to be the bad guy, people insisted that they were sure.  Benedict Cumberbatch, best known right now for his outstanding work in the BBC's "Sherlock," was eventually cast as the film's antagonist, which would seem like very strange casting for Khan.

We're about to start finally getting concrete information about the film, and I am eager to see the nine-minute opening sequence that will be screening in front of "The Hobbit" at every IMAX screening when the film opens next month.  I would imagine that opening will clearly establish the tone of the new film and give us some idea of where things are going to head in terms of story.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Moonrise Kingdom.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Moonrise Kingdom."

Credit: Focus Features

'Silver Linings Playbook,' 'Moonrise Kingdom' lead Indie Spirit noms

'Beasts,' 'Bernie,' and 'Keep the Lights On' round out top category

The season's first major precursor nominations (sorry, Gotham Awards) have landed and, as usual, the Independent Spirit Awards have given the biggest boost to the biggest indies, amplifying the Oscar buzz they already had. It's no surprise, then, to see the Weinsteins' "Silver Linings Playbook" and Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom" leading the field with five nods apiece.

However, while the former's Best Picture Oscar nod was already a sure thing, the haul for "Moonrise," coming on the heels of its Gotham triumph last night, raises the question of whether Wes Anderson's nostalgic bauble, earmarked by most pundits chiefly as a screenplay contender, can crack the Academy's top field.

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<p>Joe Manganiello was back on last night's &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Joe Manganiello was back on last night's "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Twelve Horny Women'

Joe Manganianello shows off the goods to best Marshall in court

A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I'm arrested for ZWI...

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<p>Helen Mirren and Athony Hopkins in &quot;Hitchcock.&quot;</p>

Helen Mirren and Athony Hopkins in "Hitchcock."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Roundup: The trouble with the artist biopic

Also: The foreign-language Oscar boost, and holding off the 'Les Mis' train

It sure feels like a long time ago that Fox Searchlight announced it was releasing "Hitchcock" in 2012 and multiple Oscar pundits adjusted their Best Picture charts: the film's detractors keep growing in number, some offended, others merely bored. (I haven't had an opportunity to see it yet.) One of the best pieces for the prosecution I've read comes from Scott Tobias, who uses his issues with the film as a springboard for a discussion about the problem with artist biopics in general: they tend to be so much more conventional than the figures they're about, and "any scene that fails to illuminate the creative process is more banal than trivia." He cites "Topsy-Turvy" and "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould" as examples of films that successfully dodge the "Wiki-movie" pitfalls of the artist biopic; I'd add "I'm Not There" and "Before Night Falls," among others. [A.V. Club]

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<p>Jake Gyllenhaal should land a best male lead nomination for his role in &quot;End of Watch.&quot;</p>

Jake Gyllenhaal should land a best male lead nomination for his role in "End of Watch."

Credit: Open Road FIlms

2013 Independent Spirit Awards nominations: 5 things to look for

Look for 'Bernie,' 'End of Watch' and 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' to land nods

When the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards nominations are announced less than 12 hours from now many of the nominations won't surprise you.  "Silver Linings Playbook," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Moonrise Kingdom" should all receive multiple nods.  The question is where will the Spirit nominating committees pull a fast one? Because, let's face it, they always do. Whether it's deciding "The Artist" qualifies as an American production (don't get me started on this one) or basically ignoring "Midnight in Paris" or giving "The Last Station" a best feature nod, half of the Spirit nominations are almost never what you expect. That being said, they are somewhat predictable in their unpredictableness.  Here are five things you should look for when the nominations are revealed at 10 AM PST.

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<p>&quot;Moonrise Kingdom&quot;</p>

"Moonrise Kingdom"

Credit: Focus Features

'Moonrise Kingdom' takes top honors at 22nd annual Gotham Awards

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' takes two prizes

NEW YORK -- The Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street were a first for me this evening. Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Jack Black, Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey, David O. Russell, Marion Cotillard, all on hand to ring in the season with the first (real) awards show of the year.

There's very little I could add that Greg didn't already cover in his live-blog of the awards, New York's answer to the Independent Spirit Awards. I sat, I ate, I endured Mike Birbiglia (hey, he tried). "Moonrise Kingdom" was the big winner as "The Master" got nowhere (and looks to be going nowhere fast in the awards race unless a critics group or two speaks up fast).

I was very happy for documentary winner "How to Survive a Plague," which will be discussed at length along with other docs in the race in Friday's podcast. But the rest felt like my screener pile awards, because other winners -- "Middle of Nowhere," "Your Sister's Sister" -- and nominees -- "Safety Not Guaranteed," "Hello, I Must Be Going" -- are sitting over there on the shelf, waiting for me to see them. And I will.

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<p>Denis Lavant in one of his many, many &quot;Holy Motors&quot; guises.</p>

Denis Lavant in one of his many, many "Holy Motors" guises.

Credit: Indomina Releasing

The not-impossible dream: an Oscar nomination (or two) for 'Holy Motors'

Could the unpredictable music and makeup branches throw a wild card?

With awards season now unavoidably under way -- the Oscar nominations are just over six weeks away, if you can get your head around that -- I'm facing the possibility of another year where few of my personal favorites are in the hunt. Of course, I have yet to see the likes of "Zero Dark Thirty," "Les Misérables" or even "Lincoln": I could fall in love with any one of them, as so many others have, and thus have something to root for as fervently as I did "The Hurt Locker" a few years ago. For now, however, the projected Best Picture roster and the early drafts of my 2012 Top 10 mostly appear poles apart. 

Which is all the more reason to get invested in the finer details of the race: the narrow openings and blind spots that could benefit less expected films in less keenly scrutinized categories. Be it last year's Best Sound Editing nod for "Drive," a Costume Design mention for "Bright Star" or an Original Song bid for "Dancer in the Dark" -- making Lars von Trier an Oscar-nominated songwriter, if nothing else -- I've come to treasure isolated votes of Academy approval for adored outsiders. Such nominations are almost comical in how inadequately they represent the films' qualities, but there's something perversely satisfying about seeing these largely uninvited Cinderellas turning up at the dance after all. And the outlier I'm rooting for most this year? "Holy Motors." 

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<p>Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to step in as Batman for 'Justice League,' according to sources close to the production.</p>

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to step in as Batman for 'Justice League,' according to sources close to the production.

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Exclusive: Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt already set to play Batman in 'Justice League'?

Warner Bros. appears to be firming up their plans for the future of the character

It's starting to look like Warner Bros may hold Christopher Nolan in the highest possible regard, but that in the end, they own their characters and they will decide what they're going to do with them.

After all, we heard much talk this summer about how the Batman franchise was ending, at least as far as the current version is concerned, and I believe that Nolan was serious when he said that was the last story he had to tell about the character.  But Nolan is working with Warner Bros. on the "Man Of Steel" relaunch this summer, and as we reported earlier today, director Zack Snyder is starting to hint at the idea that his film is part of a larger continuity.

Certainly, the ending of "The Dark Knight Rises" hints at a possible future for the franchise, and there has been much speculation about whether or not they'll work to connect the end of that film to the larger world of DC properties that Warner is so desperate to create.  Over the last couple of weeks, that speculation seems to have turned into conversation, and that conversation seems to be solidifying into a plan.

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<p>Ke$ha on the &quot;Today&quot; show</p>

Ke$ha on the "Today" show

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Ke$ha and Iggy Pop combine for some 'Dirty Love'

Update: Stream all of 'Warrior,' in full

It may not surprise you that Ke$ha collaborated with at least one half of the Black Keys on her new set "Warrior," particularly after hearing her track "Dirty Love" featuring Iggy Pop.

The "whooooa" of the chorus will ring reminiscent of the blues-rock outfit's "Lonely Boy." But lets just say "Boy" is legions cleaner.

"Dirty Love" starts with a Mickey Mouseketeerian introduction between Ke$ha and the legendary Stooges frontman, and the politeness stops there. They take turns referencing the nasty, and not just your, erm, vanilla variety.

Is it that she wants between your cheeks? Or is it sheets that make it dirty? Pop makes a reference to Santorum, in both its noun and pronoun forms. Both vocals appear to have been completed in a couple takes, and if my fantasy serves me at all, Ke$ha and Iggy Pop then finished their sessions and set fire to a limo full of sex toys. Because that's what this sounds like.

It's terrible, I hate it. I'm also lusty for it, and entertained. These may all be the same thing.

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<p>Terry McDermott of &quot;The Voice&quot;.</p>

Terry McDermott of "The Voice".

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Monday - Top 8 Perform

The Elite Eight compete for America's vote.

Eight contestants and eight episodes. That’s all that’s left of this cycle of “The Voice”. Without knowing the exact numbers of how the viewing public has voted, it’s impossible to say who is in the driver’s seat at this point. Going off downloads alone, Cassadee Pope and Melanie Martinez seem primed to go deep into the competition. But who knows if people responded to the artists or the simply the songs they performed last week. Guess we’ll have a clearer sense of things after tomorrow night and two more contestants go home.

As always, I’ll be keeping a running diary of the events. I’ll keep things focused on the actual competition and less on any 50 Cent action that might be on display tonight. After all, nothing says “The Voice” like the man who gave us “In Da Club”, right? I understand artists want to use the show’s platform, and I further understand that the show is in a mutually beneficially relationship with those artists. But couldn’t those artists, I don’t know…sing? It seems like a lot to ask, I know. In any case, let’s get this show on the road!
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