Melissa Leo of ‘The Fighter’ chats with Greg In Hollywood
By Greg Hernandez
HollywoodNews.com: When you win both the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award for your performance in a film, it usually makes you a front-runner heading into the Academy Awards.
Mellisa Leo, an Oscar nominee for ‘Frozen River’ two years ago, won the SAG and the Globe for her performance in ‘The Fighter’ then was featured in a series of “For Your Consideration” glamorous ads in Hollywood trade papers that has led to speculation that voters may have been turned off and Miss Leo may have hurt her chances to take home the Oscar for best supporting actress.
It would be a shame if something like that was responsible for denying this fine actress an Academy Award. She has been turning in superb performances in television and film for decades. I first took notice if her in the indie film ‘Last Summer in the Hamptons’ and thought she was very powerful in ’21 Grams.’ TV viewers remember her from role at Det. Sgt. Kay Howard on NBC’s ‘Homicide: Life on the Streets’ or from the current HBO series ‘Treme.’
I’ve interviewed Miss Leo several times in recent years and found her to be one of the more gracious and humble stars around. Most recently, we chatted at the BAFTA/LA Awards Season Tea Party which took place the day after she won the Broadcast Critics Award and the day before she won the Golden Globe.
She began our conversation by thanking me for writing kind things about her work in the past: “It gets me kind of verklempt because you are one of them who has changed my life when you write, ‘Melissa Leo – when are we going to see more of her?’ My father for years has sent me these quotes he finds.”
I wondered how her career had changed since her best actress Oscar nod for ‘Frozen River.’ Have bigger and better roles been coming her way?
“’Frozen River’ made people start to feel it – by people I mean producers primarily,” she explained. “Writers have always kind of adored me, directors I’ve weedled my way into their hearts. Producers don’t know if they’re going to get their money back on me. ‘Frozen River’ made them decide that they might take a chance on me. That chance includes ‘Treme’ that I’m doing for HBO, ‘The Fighter’ and two other films in the can.”
How did she feel about playing the role of Alice Ward in ‘The Fighter,’ a woman who is mother and manager to two grown sons, both professional boxers, played in the film by Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale?
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