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Melissa Leo’s film and entertainment career


Learn about the life and work of one of the most prolific Oscar winners working today.

Born on September 14, 1960, Melissa Leo has been hard at work ever since the 1980s. Her first acting role was in a short called “I’m Only There…” in the role of “Maggie” in 1984. Her first film was a 1985 motion picture called Always in which she played “Peggy.” Leo would then go on to have a wide variety of film and television roles for the next two decades.

Leo then rose to prominence when she made a small independent film that received recognition at the Academy Awards. In 2008, she played Ray Eddy in Frozen River, a role that earned her an Academy Award nomination even though she lost to Kate Winslet for The Reader. Melissa Leo would go on to receive her own Academy Award for her supporting role as Alice Ward in The Fighter (2010). This victory led to one of the most controversial moments in Oscar history because Melissa Leo notoriously used profanity while accepting her award.


In spite of that snafu, Leo is still doing a wide variety of projects. She is currently filming Furlough in the role of Joan Anderson. She also just began pre-production on The Equalizer 2 and Run with the Hunted, both of which are set for release in 2018. Melissa Leo might have embarrassed herself when she won her Academy Award, but she is definitely showcasing her acting skills in a wide variety of roles.

Alex Phuong