The 2012 Sprit Award nominations have been announced, with apocalyptic drama 'Take Shelter' and black-and-white silent film 'The Artist' leading the way - the pair are up for five gongs each. The Independent film awards were created in 1984, dedicated to those working away from the multi-million budgets of Hollywood and their ilk.

The boundaries have somewhat blurred in recent years though, and among the latest nominees revealed are several titles that can expect to be in the running when the biggest of them all, the Oscars, swings into town just a day after the Spirit Awards take place next year. These include, competing for the top prize of the Best Feature, '50/50', 'The Descendants', 'Beginners' and 'Drive' alongside the aforementioned 'Take Shelter' and 'The Artist'. Reuters reports that there's a common belief that, with the awards still attempting to focus on lower-budget films, 'if you win on Saturday you'll lose on Sunday', though 'Black Swan' was a big winner at last year's awards and also went on to take an Oscar, as Natalie Portman was honoured.

In other key categories, Ryan Gosling goes up for Best Male Lead against Woody Harrelson, Jean Dujardin, Michael Shannon and Demian Bichir, with Michelle Williams up for Best Female Lead for her role in Marilyn Monroe biopic 'My Week With Marilyn'. MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS will have his work cut out in the Best Director category, 'The Artist' director up against JEFF NICHOLS and Alexander Payne among others.