Melissa Leo drops F-bomb at Oscars

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Oscar winner Melissa Leo gets animated during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Oscar winner Melissa Leo gets animated during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles – Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won the supporting-acting Academy Awards on Sunday for the boxing drama The Fighter, while Toy Story 3 claimed the prize for feature animation.

Network censors bleeped Leo in the US for dropping the F-word during her speech. Backstage, Leo jokingly conceded it was "probably a very inappropriate place to use that particular word".

"Those words, I apologise to anyone that they offend. There is a great deal of the English language that is in my vernacular," Leo said.

Bale, who is British, joked that he was keeping his language clean.

"Melissa, I'm not going to drop the F-bomb like she did," Bale said. "I've done that plenty of times before."

Not bleeped in South Africa

But the Oscars, being a global affair, were telecast elsewhere in the world with Leo's words uncensored. Viewers who watched the show on Star Movies, a major channel available throughout Asia, heard the F-word loud and clear. It was also heard clearly in South Africa during the live broadcast on M-Net Movies.

Leo's win capped an unusual career surge in middle age for the 50-year-old actress, who had moderate success on TV's Homicide: Life on the Street in her 30s but leaped to big-screen stardom in her late 40s, a time when most actresses find good roles hard to come by.

Some in Hollywood had speculated that Leo might have undermined her Oscar chances with self-promoting ads she ran in film trade papers. Such self-hype is considered tacky by some awards voters.

Whether it cost her votes or not, Leo still came out on top for The Fighter, also a best-picture nominee.

"I'm just shaking in my boots here," Leo said. "Yeah, I am kind of speechless."

Heath Ledger

Leo, in disbelief when she took the stage, said, "Pinch me." Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, who presented her award, obliged with a little pinch on her arm.

Bale earned the same prize his Batman co-star, the late Heath Ledger, received posthumously two years ago for The Dark Knight. At the time, Bale had fondly recalled a bit of professional envy as he watched Ledger perform on set like a whirlwind as the diabolical Joker while the film's star had to remain clenched up as the stoic, tightly wound Batman.

The Fighter gave Bale his turn to unleash some demons as Dicky Eklund, a boxer whose career unraveled amid crime and drug abuse. Bale delivers a showy performance full of tics and tremors, bobbing and weaving around the movie's star and producer, Mark Wahlberg, who plays Eklund's stolid brother, boxer Micky Ward.

"Dicky, you're the best. You're the best. ... I can't wait to see the next chapter of your story," Bale said, then touted the former boxer's skill as a trainer and encouraged people to look him up online.

* See the full list of Oscar nominees here. The awards will be broadcast on M-Net at 20:30 on Monday night.

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