Can Melissa Leo’s Ads Win–Or Lose–An Oscar?

The Fighter star Melissa Leo had won a Golden Globe and SAG Award, and given loopy if lovable speeches at both ceremonies, flirting with David O. Russell and sputtering for joy. It’s the first time she’s had such recognition!

Her latest move, though, emphasizes the “loopy” side of her nascent persona. The actress has supplemented The Fighter‘s Oscar campaign with her own self-funded campaign, using glamour-style shots. The campaign mentions only photo and wardrobe credits and the actress’s name and URL, not The Fighter. (That website highlights “Melissa’s hair at the Golden Globes” and past film credits.) Leo may not believe she is more important than the film; she is simply trying to get attention in a crowded marketplace. “All I ask of Hollywood is they consider Melissa Leo. If you want to hire me, give me a shout,” Leo told Deadline about the ads, indicating it had been hard for her to get traditional press coverage.

Melissa Leo is no one’s–least of all, it would seem, her publicists’–idea of an easy interview, though. Her assistant strides through a recent curse-laden New York profile, attempting to pull Leo away. Publicist-imposed delays also made this reporter’s attempt to interview Leo for another publication, pre-Oscar-nomination, unusually difficult. (Her publicity team did not respond to request for comment on the new ad campaign.) The less one says during the Oscar race can benefit one (last year’s Best Supporting Actress, Mo’Nique, refused to campaign at all)–and Deadline points out that individual campaigns are vanishingly rare and often counterproductive. They smack of egotism, or desperation. The Oscar race is won, often, by playing one’s proscribed role. Leo’s refusal to do so, even against the advice of those who know that role, may just lead to the Oscars’ only surprise.

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_

Can Melissa Leo’s Ads Win–Or Lose–An Oscar?