Angelina Jolie, Melissa Leo

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for VH1

“I’ve been knocking on Hollywood’s door for years. Maybe I’ll find the doorbell!”

So said über-excited Best Actress Oscar nominee and SAG standout Melissa Leo, who’s currently over the moon with her possible shot at the ultimate golden glory. “I’m having a ball!” the Frozen River actress exclaimed to us exclusively. Leo might be close to hitting 5-0, but she’s sure lookin’ better than Madonna’s 50-year-old overworked arms. This rebel woman even has a tattoo on her chest, ready and willing for all to gawk at. We haven’t seen a caustic, independent spirit like M.L. represented in the top A.A. category since Frances McDormand, really, and M.L.’s hippy-dippy attitude’s a nice switch from the stuffy or statuesque stars the Academy draws (this year’s no exception).

But what does Mel think about competing against Angie? Do read on:

What’s it like going up against H'wood heavyweights Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie? “I see my name on lists with these women...It is really astonishing for an actor whos been working away at my craft for many years to see my name there with such recognized, amazingly talented women. It’s quite something.”

What’s next? We hear there may be a Catwoman role open for the next Batman flick, if Rachel Weisz doesn’t get her claws on it. “We’ll see about that,” said Mel. “She’ll probably be 20 years younger than me!” An older woman as the main meow-gal? Hey, we’d bite. Ashton sure did. So did Jake, for that matter, right?

—Additional reporting by Becky Bain

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