Melissa Leo has won the supporting-actress Academy Award for her role as the domineering matriarch of a boxing family in "The Fighter."
The win Sunday capped an unusual career surge in middle age for the 50-year-old Leo, who had moderate success on TV's "Homicide: Life on the Street" in her 30s but leaped to big-screen stardom in her late 40s, a time when most actresses find good roles hard to come by.
Some in Hollywood had speculated that Leo might have undermined her Oscar chances with self-promoting ads she ran in film trade papers. Such self-hype is considered tacky by some awards voters.
Whether it cost her votes or not, Leo still came out on top.
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