Capping a remarkable comeback following a six-year hiatus, Renee Zellweger won her second Academy Award for portraying the iconic Judy Garland in “Judy.” In an Oscar race that barely featured even a hint of competition, Zellweger won the Best Actress Golden Globe, SAG Award, BAFTA Award and Spirit Award for her performance.
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Zellweger previously won an Oscar in the Supporting Actress category for “Cold Mountain” in 2004. Her first two nominations were for Best Actress in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” in 2002 and “Chicago” in 2003.
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Along with a number of her peers, Zellweger made her debut – uncredited – in Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused.” After roles in “Reality Bites” and “Empire Records,” her big break came in 1996’s “Jerry Maguire.” A few years later she appeared in the first of three “Bridget Jones” films. Other notable films on her resume include “Cinderella Man,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” “Nurse Betty,” “One True Thing,” “Down with Love” and “Leatherheads.” After a number of notable flops, Zellweger dropped out of public view after 2010’s “My Own Love Song.” Her comeback began with 2016’s “Bridget Jones’ Baby,” her first major hit since “New in Town” barely broke even in 2009.
“Judy” was one of the most difficult roles of Zellweger’s career. She spent a year working on vocal training and then four additional months to master Garland’s signature singing voice for six numbers in the film. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she noted, “I couldn’t sing any of the songs initially. I didn’t have the strength to do it. Singing in the car was where it first started. I finally found a good use for L.A. traffic. Judy was riding shotgun for about a whole year with me.”
Last year she starred in Netflix’s “What/If” mini-series. What she does next, remains to be seen.