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MELISSA LEO (Lois Riley) is an Academy Award-nominated actress who has become a staple of both film and television for more than 20 years now. Leo received universal critical adulation for her virtuoso performance in FROZEN RIVER, in which she starred as Ray Eddy, a mother who finds herself involved in smuggling through Mohawk territory along the American/Canadian border. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, where it won the Grand Jury prize for Best Drama.

For this performance, Leo won the 2009 Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress along with a host of other honors: the National Board of Review Spotlight Award, the San Sebastian International Film Festival's Best Actress Award, the Marrakesh International Film Festival's Best Actress award, the Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor, the Florida Film Critics Award for Best Actress, the Ohio Film Critics Award for Best Actress, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Award and recognition as one of Variety magazine's "10 Actors to Watch.”

Additionally, Leo garnered several more nominations in the Best Actress category, including those of the Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice Awards, Chicago Film Critics and Satellite Awards. She also earned her first Academy Award nomination (Best Actress).

Before FROZEN RIVER, Leo was most widely known for her portrayal of Detective Kay Howard on HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS and for her outstanding work in 21 GRAMS, in which she starred opposite Benicio Del Toro and Sean Penn.

She was also seen in THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA, in which she starred opposite Dwight Yoakam and Tommy Lee Jones, and HIDE AND SEEK, alongside Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning.

Leo studied drama at Mount View Theatre School in London, England and later at the SUNY Purchase Acting Program.

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