Misty Upham and Melissa Leo in 'Frozen River'
Misty Upham and Melissa Leo in Frozen River

It seems strange to say an actress is on the rise when she’s been in 70 film and television productions including 21 Grams, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and most famously TV’s Homicide: Life on the Streets, but buzz is building around Melissa Leo.

She stars in Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River, which won the grand jury feature prize at Sundance last January and opens in limited release on Friday. Sasha Stone took an early reading of the Oscar tealeaves at Awards Daily last week and threw Leo’s name out there as a Best Actress contender. After screening the film, Stone says that Leo “is going to be among those left standing by year’s end if anyone with half a brain is paying attention.” She also links to an NY Times profile on the actress.

Oscar is a dirty word around LiC this time of year, but the monkeys and I like to see the spotlight shine on the little guys – the earlier the better. If the film is as good as advertised, I wonder if Courtney Hunt could also get a screenwriting nomination. The glass ceiling on that award seems to have been effectively smashed last year with nominations for Tamara Jenkins (The Savages), Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl) and of course the win for Diablo Cody (Juno).

Oscar or no, we can’t wait to have a look at Frozen River which tells the story of a struggling single mother who turns to smuggling illegal immigrants from Canada accross the frozen St. Lawrence river to make ends meet. Watch the trailer at Apple.

9 Responses to “Leo Rising”

  1. “Frozen River” indeed looks amazing, and I’d be glad if Leo got some long deserved long from the Academy or anyone else for that matter.

  2. I never watched Homicide so I haven’t exactly been following her career, but if she’s as good as advertised in FR, I’m rooting for her.

  3. There was also a little “unknown” actress with a 40+ film and television resume who started making waves around this time last year and the rest, as they say, is history. The rules of the game have changed, and I do think that Ms. Leo has a chance in this new (relatively) level playing field. The fact that her film is also being well-received gives her an extra push.

    -Space Monkey #9.

  4. Hahah Dorothy. I should start printing out hand numbered LiC Monkey t-shirts.

    The unknown actress you speak of was also hampered by being in a foreign language film that was seen by less people than see typcial American films, yet she won anyway.

    I seem to recall someone pumping that actress for many many months in advance. Her name is on the tip of my tongue. What was it again…?

  5. Please do, Craig! I’d proudly strut around midtown manhattan with an LiC monkey t-shirt.

    I think the name you’re looking for rhymes with shmorothy dorker.

  6. Hmmm…Shmorothy dorker…nope, not ringing any bells. Super nice girl though if I remember correctly (and I do).

    I think the shirts are an excellent idea. I could give them out free to people when they reach a certain number of comments. I need a graphic designer though. Know any good ones who’d work on the cheap?

  7. K is a fantastic designer and can work wonders with photoshop. I could see her designing a kick ass image :)

  8. Put the word out I’m looking for a great cartoon monkey design…I’m thinking of the chimp family, but I’m open. If she’s interested, have her contact me. Same applies to anyone reading this.

  9. ‘Oscar is a dirty word around LiC this time of year’

    huh ??????

    well maybe it shouldn’t/the word’s probably abit more pure this time of year. ha ha…

    i really need the craigness…. :)

    to explain that oscar tidbit for me abit…just abit more… :)

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