Leo takes supporting-actress Oscar for `Fighter'

Actress Anne Hathaway arrives on the red carpet for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. Hollywood's brightest stars finally hit the red carpet Sunday for the climax of its annual awards season, with British royal drama "The King's Speech" hoping to be crowned with Oscars glory. (AFP)

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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