Opinion Brief

Melissa Leo's 'rogue' Oscar campaign

The Best Supporting Actress frontrunner has taken out ads at her own expense to win over Oscar voters. Will the immodest move pay off or backfire?

The image: Oscar-nominated actress Melissa Leo has gone "rogue." Not content to let the studio marketing department push her supporting actress work in The Fighter on Academy Awards voters, and frustrated that she wasn't able to land magazine covers like a younger starlet, the 50-year-old Leo personally bought ads in Hollywood trade publications. (See an example below.) They feature her in a glamourous sequined dress and faux fur, with a single line of text: "Consider..." Will her brash efforts pay off on Oscar night?
The reaction:
This is an "unusual" move, says The Reliable Source in The Washington Post. Observers are saying she "could suffer backlash from voters." She might, says Pete Hammond at Deadline. Personal ad campaigns "backfired" for Chill Wills, nominated for The Alamo (1960), and Margaret Avery, who was nominated for The Color Purple (1985). Yes, but unlike Leo, "Chills and Avery traded recklessly and shamelessly on their nominated roles," says Mike Sragow in The Baltimore Sun. Instead, Leo does not reference her working-class role in The Fighter and makes the point that mature actresses like herself rarely recieve glamourized press coverage. "She may even have helped her chances if a few people got the point." See for yourself:

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