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article imageOp-Ed: 10 exceptional acting projects by Oscar winner Melissa Leo

By Markos Papadatos     Feb 25, 2020 in Entertainment
Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo is one of the most talented and underrated character actresses of our generation. This journalist lists 10 exceptional acting projects of hers, in no particular order.
Frozen River: In Frozen River, Leo played Ray Eddy, a store clerk that is struggling to raise her two sons, who is also a compulsive gambler. She earned for her Oscar nomination for this role, which was very deserving.
Frozen River
Melissa Leo gives a pitch perfect performance in Frozen River.
Sony Pictures Classics
The Fighter: In this feature film, Leo won her coveted Academy Award for playing a real-life character Alice Eklund-Ward in a bold and unflinching manner.
Novitiate: In Novitiate, Leo played a disillusioned nun Reverend Mother Marie Saint-Clair in a controlled fashion as she plays a big part when a young woman (Margaret Qualley) starts questioning her faith as she prepares to become a nun. She was snubbed for an Oscar nod for this role for sure.
21 Grams: In this film, she played the role of Marianne Jordan, joining an all-star cast that included such actors as Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.
Mildred Pierce: Leo was brilliant in the HBO mini-series, where she played Lucy Gessler opposite Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce) and Guy Pearce (Monty Beragon). Leo proved she was worthy of a Primetime Emmy Award in this series, just like her co-stars Evan Rachel Wood and Mare Winningham, who were also nominated in that category for their acting work in this series.
The Most Hated Woman in America: This was an extraordinary dramatic film on Netflix, where Leo plays atheist activist Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
Flight: In Flight, she played Ellen Block opposite Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle. This film was up for the "Best Original Screenplay" Academy Award.
Red State: In this indie horror film, Leo plays Sarah Cooper, who is Pastor Cooper's (Michael Parks) daughter and the wife of Caleb (Ralph Garman).
Prisoners: Leo starred as Holly Jones in the thriller Prisoners, which featured an all-star cast of actors.
Midnight Son: This short film project was written, produced and directed by Adam Davenport, and she stars as Rita. It deals with a mild-mannered professor that leaves his wife one night to meet a stranger from an Internet chatroom. One can feel her pain, especially in this digital age.
The Verdict
No matter what role she takes, Melissa Leo always gives it her all. She truly becomes each character she has ever portrayed, and she deserves to be commended for playing strong women. Leo is a transformative actress, performer, and storyteller.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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