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Indie Spirit Awards 2014: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon among presenters -- EXCLUSIVE

The day before the Oscars, smaller films are honored during the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, and EW has exclusively learned the first round of this year’s presenters.

Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Rosario Dawson, Angela Bassett, and Andy Samberg will all present at the 29th annual ceremony, which takes place Saturday, March 1. Hosted by actor/comedian Patton Oswalt, the daytime luncheon will broadcast later that evening at 10 p.m. ET on IFC.

12 Years a Slave leads all films with seven nominationsNebraska is right behind with six. Both films are in the running for Best Feature, alongside All Is LostFrances Ha, and Inside Llewyn Davis. McConaughey is also nominated for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. Other nominees include Oscar front-runners Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, and Lupita Nyong’o.

Now in its 29th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made without a big Hollywood budget by filmmakers who embody independence and originality.

Golden Globes: Party Report! Inside scoop from all the after-ceremony festivities

EW is inside all the Golden Globes parties tonight. Check out our reports from inside all the carousing and celebrating. Check back often for updates and follow us on Twitter at #EWglobes.
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'Black Nativity': Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker talk Harlem-set holiday musical -- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK VIDEO

It’s been a long time since there’s been a truly great Christmas musical on the big screen, and Black Nativity is hoping to change that this holiday season.

Director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) discusses the tale of reconnection, opening Nov. 27, in an exclusive First Look featurette. Nativity centers on a Baltimore teen named Langston (breakout Jacob Latimore, whose name pays homage to the film’s source material: a 1961 stage musical by poet Langston Hughes), who is sent by his down-on-her-luck mother mother (Jennifer Hudson) to spend the holidays in Harlem with her estranged parents — her Reverend father (Oscar winner Forest Whitaker) and his church choir-leading wife (Oscar nominee Angela Bassett).

Despite having her own Oscar on her mantle, Hudson admits to being blown away by the star-studded cast, which also includes R&B powerhouses Mary J. Blige, Tyrese, and Luke James: “Some of my favorite artists are here,” says the triple threat. “It makes such a fun project and a fun cast.” For his part Tyrese, was drawn to Black Nativity because “this is a film that everybody in the family can go and see together. What makes this movie powerful is that you can relate and identify with somebody in this movie.”

Below, Whitaker talks overcoming nerves before stepping into the recording studio, Blige sings Latimore’s praises, Hudson talks working with Grammy winner Raphael Saadiq (who composed new gospel and R&B music for the film), and more cast members give insight to the production. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Angela Bassett, Aaron Eckhart join 'Olympus Has Fallen.' Plus: Derek Luke, Ron Livingston, Kristen Schaal

• Derek Luke (Captain America: The First Avenger) will costar with Paula Patton in Baggage Claim, about a flight attendant (Patton) who goes on a month-long search for a potential husband. Director David Talbert (First Sunday) also adapted the screenplay from his novel. [Variety]

• Ron Livingston has signed onto The Pretty One, about a girl (Zoe Kazan) mistaken for her “perfect” identical twin — who happens to be dead. Jake Johnson (Fox’s New Girl) costars; first-time feature director Jenée LaMarque also penned the screenplay. [Deadline]

• Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Kenneth Williams will play a rebellious slave in Twelve Years a Slave, the pre-Civil War drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Salt) as a free man who is kidnapped into slavery. Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Paul Dano costar in the project, co-written by John Ridely (Red Tails) and Steve McQueen (Shame), and directed by McQueen. [Deadline]

Kristen Schaal (NBC’s 30 Rock) will voice an orangutan in Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, the sequel to the 2009 underrated animated comedy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Anna Faris, Bill Hader, and Andy Samberg will also reprise their roles in the film, which explores the fallout from the events of the first film, i.e. the rise of self-aware creatures made of food. Sounds delicious! Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn will direct. [THR]

Read more:
Casting Net: Colin Firth, Cate Blanchett attached to Barbra Streisand-directed drama. Plus: Charlie Sheen, Reese Witherspoon, Maya Rudolph
Casting Net: Jim Parsons, Rihanna to give voice to ‘Happy Smekday!’ Plus: Jason Schwartzman, Rob Reiner, Edgar Ramirez
Casting Net: Jon Hamm may face off against Larry David. Plus: Jon Bernthal, Amber Heard

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