Press Releases

Melissa Leo Receives Oscar Nomination for Best Actress Award

Date Released: 1/23/2009

Actress Melissa Leo is Oscar-bound. The former Purchase student received a Best Actress Oscar nod for her starring performance in the Courtney Hunt film Frozen River. This is her first Academy Award nomination in a category that includes Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet. 

Melissa Leo is a respected veteran actress who has appeared in many independent films. "She has won a stream of accolades over the years," according to Greg Braxton of the Los Angeles Times. She just received a Sundance Grand Jury Prize, a Gotham Independent Film Award, and has been nominated for a Screen Actor's Guild Award and a Spirit Award.

Her credits include appearances in over 60 films and 17 television shows. At one time she beat Julia Roberts for the role of Linda Warner on the soap opera "All My Children." She is best known for her starring role as Detective Kay Howard on the award- winning NBC series "Homicide: Life on the Street," and appearing as a recurring character on "The L Word."  Among her theatrical productions and film credits are 21 Grams which won critical acclaim and her portrayal of Rachel on Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

In Frozen River, she plays Ray Eddy, a desperate blue-color mother from upstate New York who becomes involved with smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States.

The Academy Awards will be broadcast on ABC television on February 22.