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Melissa Leo and those odd Oscar ads

February 22, 2011 |  5:30 pm

Melissa Leo If Melissa Leo doesn't win best supporting actress on Sunday night, her loss will be blamed squarely on the ads she took out asking voters to "Consider Melissa." Leo donned fur in the two print ads that appeared on the back pages of Variety and were considered rather tacky by many in the industry.

The 50-year old actress was initially very vocal about why the ads were made and said that she paid for them herself as a way to fight back against the ageism in Hollywood that keeps 50-year-old women off magazine covers.

Now, it seems Leo, who has been nominated for her role as an aggressive mother-manager in David O. Russell's "The Fighter," is rather confused by the response to the ads. In an interview with the Daily Beast, one that occurred after the reporter ran into Leo at a New York restaurant, she says that she has been a good soldier for the entire campaign and thought that the ads were standard procedure. She says she's surprised by the reaction.  "I'm a little confused. This is what we're doing. This is what all the girls are doing," she says.

She adds that she conceived the ads before she was nominated and she might have done things differently had she known she was going to be nominated. But the ads actually published after the nominations were announced, which seemed very oddly timed. "It didn't seem so nomination-oriented," says Leo regarding the original concept for the ads. "It was fun." 

We called Paramount directly and they said they support their actresses 1,000% and would be shocked if people who had been planning to vote for Leo now didn't because of her ads.

We'll see what happens on Sunday night.

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Melissa Leo at the Oscar nominees luncheon. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

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