CATEGORIES Movies
Jared Leto's Oscar Speech Charms Some, Angers Others
One of the classier parts of Jared Leto's acceptance speech for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar Sunday night paid tribute to his mother, Constance. Leto, who won for his performance as a transgender AIDS patient in "Dallas Buyers Club," praised his mom effusively, in addition to giving some airtime to the political turmoil in Ukraine and Venezuela, and "the 36 million people out there who have lost the battle to AIDs." (It would have been cool for him to also thank the transgender community he says helped him get ready to take on the role of Rayon, although he probably thought that "all who are out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love" sufficed. Not really. Next time he should ask Lupita Nyong'o to write his speech?)

Leto said, "In 1971, Bossier City, Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special. That girl is my mother and she's here tonight. And I just want to say, I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream."

Leto has previously described his upbringing as "food stamp-poor" as he, his brother Shannon, and mom Constance moved around from state to state until settling in Virginia with the man who would become their stepdad, Dr. Carl Leto. He told "Mr. Porter" magazine, "I had no concept of the word 'fame'; or a notion of success or money. We grew up very poor, so our world wasn't anywhere near that kind of stuff. You have to do what is important to you and protect that."

Constance, who held her own on the red carpet alongside Jared and Shannon, was a "vagabond, hippie mother" according to her younger son. Until Leto was eight years old, they'd lived on a commune, in a truck, and spent a year in Haiti when he was 12.

Leto told Focus Features, "I was raised around a lot of artists, musicians, photographers, painters and people that were in theater... Just having the art communal hippie experience as a child, there wasn't a clear line that was drawn. We celebrated creative experience and creative expression. We didn't try and curtail it and stunt any of that kind of growth."

At the moment, Leto is basking in the glory of his little gold man and making the Internet rumor mill go buzzzzz with talk of a budding romance with Nyong'o, whom he referred to as his "future ex-wife" in a speech at the Independent Spirit Awards. As for Constance, there's already a Tumblr dedicated to her general fabulosity.
constance leto