In an interview with Nancy Mills of the New York Times Syndicate, Melissa Leo said she was never afraid to look bad on screen. "I was never drop-dead gorgeous," she said. Leo's goal is to portray the women she plays realistically even if that means wearing no makeup, putting on unflattering costumes or sprouting misguided ideas. In The Fighter she plays the mother of two boxers (Mark Whalberg and Christian Bale) who chooses to manage her own boys careers in the fight game. Leo calls the character "pretty darn though, although I don't think she thinks so."
Since her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Acrress in Frozen River in 2008, she has worked steadily. Leo searches for different strong characters to portray.
In the upcoming golf comedy, Seven Days in Utopia, she plays a mother. In another upcoming film, The Space Between, she plays a flight attendnt who strikes up a friendship with a 10- year- old Pakistani-American boy when their flight is grounded on 9/11.
She will appear in HBO's Mildred Pierce miniseries which stars Kate Winslet. She plays Winslet's neighbor who ends up being her confidante.
She has also been in New Orleans to film the second season of HBO's Treme, playing a civil-rights attorney, a wife and mother who is passionate about the people who would not otherwise have a voice.
In her story Nancy Mills says, "Leo has worked for more than 25 years to get to this position, even if her newfound popularity seems to have come overnight."