Leo is competing against Amy Adams, who is also in "The Fighter;" Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech;" Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit;" and Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom" for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar which will be presented Sunday at the 83 Academy Awards.
The veteran workhouse actress, who is not considered a household name, tried to bolster awareness for her award winning role as the bleached blonde domineering mother in the film by paying for her own self-promoting ads in Hollywood trade publications. The ads feature a picture of Leo, dressed glamorously, with just the word "Consider."
While it's not uncommon for the film companies to undertake an advertising campaign for their academy nominated films and actors, it is virtually unheard of for individual actors to undertake self-promotion. Insiders say that Leo's self-promoting ads are thought to be tacky and completely inappropriate. They also say her actions have cause those who planned to vote for Leo to ultimately change their votes.
(Shown to the Right- Melissa Leo at the Screen Actor's Guide Award - 2011 - All Rights Reserved)
Ironically Leo has already nabbed a Golden Globe, SAG and similar awards for her best supporting turn in the role she resisted taking. The 50 year old actresses balked at accepting the role because she was only a few years older than Wahlberg and Bale, her on-screen sons.
Many critics believe Leo was instrumental in making the film a financial and critical success. Indeed, the on-screen transformation of Leo from her off-screen persona was astounding. Her performance as Ward was brilliant.
Leo said "this entire awards process to some degree is about pimping yourself out," ... "I'm confident my fans will understand the ads were about showing a different side of myself." Leo said that the campaign was meant to be humorous and to remind people of who she was.
Leo was originally best known for her role in the soap operal All My Children but she broke into films in 21 Grams. She also was nominated for an Academy Awards for her role In Frozen River.
Many Hollywood insiders believe Melissa Leo's problem is she has been a workhorse actress working for many years, but never had that one special role that made her a household name. Her longtime fans believe whether she wins the Oscar or not, Leo is now much more of a household name because The Fighter gave her a role of a lifetime.
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