childhood stammerer to the stage of the Kodak, I find so profoundly moving,"
the director said.
He singled out his parents in the audience and said, "I know there's been a lot of thanking of mums but this is slightly different because my mum, in 2007, was invited by some Australian friends ... to a fringe-theater play reading of an unproduced, unrehearsed play called 'The King's Speech.' "
She almost didn't go because it didn't sound promising but she went, came home and called her son the director and said, "Tom, I think I found your next film." The moral of the story, he concluded: "Listen to your mother."
Christian Bale and Melissa Leo took the supporting prizes for "The Fighter" and Ms. Leo took the prize for dropping the f-bomb early in the telecast but being bleeped by the censors.
Backstage, according to the Associated Press, she jokingly conceded it was "probably a very inappropriate place to use that particular word."
Mr. Bale stepped out of the dark shadows of Batman and won an Oscar for playing boxer and crack addict Dickie Eklund in "The Fighter."
He lost 30 pounds, shaved a bald spot into the back of his head and adopted a Massachusetts accent and the facial expressions and mannerisms of a guy who is goofy, gutsy and going in the wrong direction with his life.
After kissing his wife and then co-star Amy Adams, Mr. Bale took the stage. "Bloody hell. Wow. What a room full of talented and inspirational people and what the hell am I doing here in the midst of you? It's such an honor."
He thanked director David O. Russell "for making the work that all of us actors did actually mean something" and gave a shoutout to Mr. Eklund and his website. "I'm not gonna drop the f-bomb like [Melissa Leo] did. I've done that plenty before," he said, to knowing laughs.
Mr. Bale has long been one of Hollywood's most underappreciated actors. He emerged from a field of 4,000 boys to be cast by Steven Spielberg in 1987's "Empire of the Sun" and since then he's played everything from a yuppie serial killer and POW to a desperate rancher and, of course, the Dark Knight.
He got choked up in calling his wife, Sibi Blazic, "my mast through the storms of life. I hope I'm likewise to you."
Although pundits wondered whether Ms. Leo had torpedoed her Oscar chances with glamorous but ill-advised ads in the trade publications, she either delivered a knock-out or won on points (and ballots) as best supporting actress for "The Fighter."
"For me?" Ms. Leo said. "Oh wow. Really, really, really, really, really truly wow. I know there's a lot of people that said a lot of real, real nice things to me for several months now.
"But I'm just shakin' in my boots here," Ms. Leo said, having asked presenter Kirk Douglas to pinch her. "Golly sakes, there's people up there, too," she said, looking to the upper balconies before uttering the f-word in an Alice Ward style moment and being bleeped by censors.
Ms. Leo plays Alice Ward, the Lowell, Mass., mother of nine, including boxers "Irish" Micky Ward and Dickie Eklund portrayed by Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Just 11 years older than Mr. Wahlberg, she nevertheless pulled it off although she cut and dyed her trademark red hair and spent 90 minutes daily in the hair and makeup chair.
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