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Melissa Leo, Christian Bale Win Best-Supporting Actor Oscars for `Fighter'

“The Fighter” won best-supporting actor Oscars for Melissa Leo and Christian Bale as the film about boxer Micky Ward captured early honors at the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony.

Bale, 37, won for his portrayal of Dicky Eklund, Ward’s junkie half-brother. Leo took the honor for playing Ward’s mother in the film distributed by Paramount Pictures. The show from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles is being telecast live on Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network.

“The Fighter” is based on the real life story of Ward’s climb to the championship. The film, featuring Mark Wahlberg as Ward and Bale as his troubled half-brother, has grossed $107.3 million worldwide on a production budget of $25 million. Leo, 50, earlier won a Golden Globe award for the role.

“This has been an extraordinary journey,” Leo said during her acceptance speech. “It’s about selling motion pictures and respecting the work.”

The Academy is recognizing smaller-budget films that went on to box-office success. “The King’s Speech,” nominated for best film, was made for $15 million and took in $237 million in global sales. Black Swan” cost $13 million and generated $204 million in sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

Aaron Sorkin won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for Social Network,” the film about the founding of Facebook Inc. from Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures. David Seidler won for best original screenplay for “The King’s Speech.”

‘Terrifying’

“The writer’s speech -- this is terrifying,” said Seidler, 73. “My father said to me I would always be a late bloomer. I believe I’m the oldest person to win this award, and I hope that record is broken early and often.”

“The King’s Speech,” distributed by Weinstein Co., tells the story of England’s King George VI’s relationship with a therapist who helps him overcome a stammer. The film stars Colin Firth, 40, as George and Geoffrey Rush, 59, as his unorthodox therapist.

Weinstein Co. won a PG-13 rating for an alternate version of the movie from Motion Picture Association of America on Feb. 25. The New York-based studio plans to release the film after advertising the difference in the film and the R-rated original, which included scenes with strong language, the MPAA said.

Oscar-nominated films have fared better financially than Hollywood as a whole. Sales for all 10 of this year’s best- picture nominees have exceeded their production budgets, according to Box Office Mojo. Box-office revenue in the U.S. and Canada fell slightly last year to $10.57 billion, propped up by higher prices for 3-D films, while attendance declined 5.7 percent. In 2011, sales have fallen 21 percent and attendance is down 22 percent, according to Hollywood.com Box-Office.

“Disney’s ‘‘Toy Story 3’’ won the Oscar for best animated feature and its ‘‘Alice in Wonderland’’ won for art direction.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Michael White in Los Angeles at Mwhite8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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