Jared Leto wins supporting actor Oscar for 'Dallas Buyers Club'

Sun Mar 2, 2014 10:16pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jared Leto, the former teen heartthrob who left Hollywood to become a rock star, won the best supporting actor Oscar on Sunday in his return to movies as an HIV positive transgender woman in "Dallas Buyers Club."

Leto, 42, won over both critics and audiences with his portrayal of Rayon in the 1980s era AIDS drama, and was seen as favorite for the supporting actor Oscar. He beat out Bradley Cooper, Barkhad Abdi, Jonah Hill and Michael Fassbender.

The blue-eyed Leto, who rose to fame as a troubled teen in the 1990s TV series "My So-Called Life," has forged a career of complex roles. He played a heroin addict in 2000's "Requiem for a Dream" and a 118-year-old man in the 2009 independent sci-fi film "Mr. Nobody."

The actor then stepped away from film to focus on being the frontman of alternative rock band 30 Seconds to Mars.

But it was Leto's return to film in "Dallas Buyers Club" that piqued the interest of audiences, especially as the actor documented a weight loss of 30 to 40 lbs (13-18 kg) to transform himself into HIV-positive character Rayon.

"This is for the 36 million people out there who have lost the battle to AIDS," Leto said as he accepted the Oscar.

"To those of you who have felt injustice because of who you love and who you are, I stand here with you and for you."

"Dallas Buyers Club" is based on the true story of homophobic drug addict Ron Woodroof, played by Matthew McConaughey, who smuggles much needed but unapproved medication into the United States to distribute to other AIDS patients. He forms an unlikely friendship and alliance with the sweet and tolerant Rayon.   Continued...

Jared Leto, best supporting actor winner for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club", speaks on stage at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson