Melissa Leo sparked some pre-Oscar controversy with her last-minute advertisements in major Hollywood trades, but in the end, nothing could disrupt the Best Supporting Actress nominee’s momentum from her wins at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Critics Choice Awards. In the end, the two-time nominee beat out Amy Adams and Helena Bonham Carter to make the 50-year-old star and her part in “The Fighter” one of the night’s biggest stories.
Kirk Douglas stole the show for a few minutes before presenting Leo’s award, which crowned her role as Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale’s mother with a golden statue. A heavy favorite, thanks to her previous honors in the last few months, Leo also beat out young contender Hailee Steinfeld and Jacki Weaver, who was nominated for “Animal Kingdom.”
But it was Leo’s own speech that was being referred to for the rest of the night, thanks to her nervous slip-up.
“Yeah, I am kind of speechless; golly sakes, there’s people up there too,” Leo marveled, waving at the audience in the mezzanine. “When I watched Kate two years ago, it looked so f—ing easy!”
Luckily, ABC had enough of a broadcast time delay to bleep out her F-bomb, but that hasn’t stopped it from being an instant classic acceptance speech.
After being passed up in 2009 for her performance in the comparatively small art-house film “Frozen River,” Leo walked off the stage with international recognition for her much bigger box office success story.
Leo’s belief in her character Alice Ward propelled her through the final weeks of Oscar voting. Her decision to launch ads personally, reportedly without consulting “Fighter” distributors Paramount and Relativity, stirred up headlines as voters were finalizing their picks, but whether or not she managed to sway the Academy into her corner or already had their attention won’t make any difference now that she has the Oscar.
Shortly after Leo’s win, Bale also took home the Supporting Actor prize.
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