HOLLYWOOD, US - Melissa Leo won the best supporting actress Oscar on Sunday for playing the fiery mother of troubled Irish-American boxing brothers in "The Fighter."
Leo, who had been the frontrunner for her performance in the real-life tale of a boxer battling to emerge from his troubled brother's shadow, was presented with the Oscar statuette by film legend Kirk Douglas, 94.
"Hey, you're pretty good looking yourself. What are you doing later on?" she joked to the veteran actor, father of Michael Douglas, after he kept her waiting before announcing her name was in the Oscar winner's envelope.
"I know there's a lot of people that said a lot of real, real nice things for several months now but I'm just shaking in my boots here," she said, before thanking her co-stars and the film's makers.
Leo won from a shortlist for supporting actress that also included Britain's Helena Bonham Carter, US actress Amy Adams, Australian Jacki Weaver and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld.
The actress had already won a Golden Globe for her role in "The Fighter" last month, along with co-star Christian Bale.
Born in New York in 1960, Leo has enjoyed a two-and-a-half decade acting career in film and television, but it was only in the last two years that she has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
She was nominated for best actress Oscar in 2009 for the low-budget independent drama "Frozen River," playing a working-class woman attempting to support her family by smuggling immigrants into the US from Canada.
On that occasion she had been up against a stellar A-list of fellow nominees that included Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway - Winslet took the award for her role in "The Reader." --REUTERS