In the past 24 hours I’ve finally completed my goal of watching all 10 of this years Academy Award nominees for Best Picture (I had yet to watch The Fighter and embarrassingly, The King’s Speech). During this awards season, I began to root less and less for Melissa Leo – the more awards she racked up, the more awkward and sometime inappropriate acceptance speeches she gave. Then she made matters worse after she released her own controversial “For Your Consideration” ads using strange, posed photos of her in a glittery evening gown and a fur coat. To me she seemed incredibly self centered, tasteless, and just plain obnoxious. Luckily the ads didn’t hurt her chances at the Oscars (she nabbed the award for Best Supporting Actress). But Leo’s biggest slip up occurred when she dropped an F-bomb in the middle of her speech – the first time any winner had done so when accepting an Oscar. I could not have disliked her less and did not feel that great about her win.
Then I watched The Fighter. Leo is nothing short of brilliant in her role as manager mum to the underdog welterweight boxer Micky Ward (played by underrated Mark Wahlberg). She is a force to be reckoned with, as an overbearing woman who’s hard as nails attitude and love for her sons makes her blind to their own sufferings. I loved her performance and now think she totally deserves her Oscar. But it’s still amazing how much I dislike her in real life! Anyway, I wonder how other people feel about great actors who have pretty bad reputations (Russel Crowe, Alec Baldwin and heck, even Leo’s fantastic co-star and Oscar winner Christian Bale come to mind). Does it bother you that people with such obnoxious personalities still achieve acclaim? How easy is it to ignore their rocky personal lives when they’re on film – especially when attempting to portray a likable character?