Renée Zellweger might have just picked up her first Best Actress win at the 2020 Oscars for her turn in the Judy Garland biopic “Judy,” but the actress is no stranger to the Academy Awards. The long-time performer previously won Best Supporting Actress for her work in “Cold Mountain” in 2004, along with picking up Oscar nominations for “Bridget Jones’s Diary” in 2002 and “Chicago” in 2003.
And yet, after taking a break from Hollywood and rushing back into the awards fold with her stunning work as the beloved Hollywood icon, it’s understandable that this win feels a little different to the actress. After picking up her second Oscar, a glowing Zellweger arrived backstage, where she was asked about how her first and second wins compare.
“Oh, my goodness, how much time do you have? Well, at that time, I think I was so busy that I wasn’t actually in the moment,” Zellweger said. “How’s it different? Different perspective. [I’m] a little more present now. I think that the time away and the time in between has helped me to appreciate it in a different way, I just look at it in a different way. What it represents is a little bit different.”
For Zellweger, her path to Oscar glory has been steeped in a desire to shine a light on Garland during some of the most fraught times in her life. “This is about wanting to tell that story and to celebrate Judy Garland and to shine a light on perhaps the nuances and the circumstances of her life, which people dismiss as tragic,” Zellweger said. “The opportunity to tell the story that challenges that narrative, and says, ‘oh, no no no, you can’t know how extraordinary a person is until you know what they struggled with and what they overcome. That’s what this is.”
She added, “Everybody was motivated by the same thing: we just appreciate the importance of her legacy and who she was as a person, and we all wanted to celebrate her, and every day we came to work and just tried to do [that]. It really was a celebration. We just came to work every day and you could feel the love for Miss Garland, and that was what we hoped.”
Zellweger’s Oscar win arrived on the heels of a virtual awards-season sweep, having previously picked up the EE BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actress, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, and the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama, amid myriad other accolades along the way.