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2 YEARS

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 'Looper' Star, Is Having an Awesome 2012

A star since childhood, the actor is having a career year at the age of 31, with hits, nominations and more to come.

Joseph Gordon- Levitt Golden Globes Red Carpet - P 2012
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Considering the year he's having, Joseph Gordon-Levitt may want to see if Rian Johnson can make him a real life time machine, too. He'll want to return to 2012.

The 31-year old actor is on an impressive hot streak this year, reaching a new high in a career that began 24 years ago. This weekend, he stars in the critically acclaimed sci-flick Looper, which reunites him with Johnson, the director that helped him kick off his push into more mature material with 2005's neo-noir, Brick. In the film, Gordon-Levitt wears significant prosthetic makeup to make him look like a younger version of Bruce Willis, but there is still little question who is the ascendant star.

PHOTOS: The Dark Knight Rises Premiere

The actor's 2012 kicked off with a trip to the Golden Globes, where he was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his work as a cancer-stricken twenty-something in 50/50, in which he co-starred with Seth Rogen. Though he did not win, the nomination -- his second -- helped set the tone for his year.

Fast forward seven months, and Gordon-Levitt starred in the final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, and was one of the scene-stealers -- and perhaps, the future of the franchise. He's played coy about taking over for the caped crusader, but given the film's over $1 billion gross, it could may happen.

After the Bat-flick, it was on to Premium Rush, a film about a bike messenger in NYC in which he was the undisputed star. Box office numbers were disappointing, but Gordon-Levitt garnered good reviews for the picture, even if it resulted in a pretty gnarly arm scar.

This weekend's Looper is perhaps his biggest solo effort; he is featured virtually alone on all of the film's marketing material, making him a veritable A-lister. His well-received hosting effort on Saturday Night Live just a week ago certainly helps that perception.

Q&A: Looper Director Rian Johnson

"My character in Looper is not exactly a hero,” Gordon-Levitt told THR this week. "There aren’t really heroes or villains in Looper, and I love that. Because in real life, no one’s black or white -- everyone is some shade of grey."

This November, he'll jump into the prestige film world, as he stars as Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, in Steven Spielberg's aptly-titled Lincoln.

"They've already lost two sons and are sort of giving him special treatment to keep him out of the Army, which makes him feel like an outsider and very alienated and ashamed of himself," Gordon-Levitt said of his character, during a Google chat with Spielberg. "And it just goes to show that the movie doesn't paint Lincoln as this perfect monument but as a man that has really complicated issues to contend with."

PHOTOS: Fall Movie Preview

To be fair, Gordon-Levitt will probably enjoy 2013, as well; in between promoting his four films -- and putting together a new album for his music collective, HitRecord -- he also directed his first film, which comes out next year.

Called Don Jon's Addiction, it co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Tony Danza and is a modern "Don Juan" story.

"I wrote it, directed it, acted in it, and we're editing it now," Gordon-Levitt told THR last month. "It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and probably the most fun."