‘Judy’ Standing Ovation at TIFF Leaves Renee Zellweger in Tears and Oscar Buzz Soaring

Is Zellweger the frontrunner to win the Oscar for Best Actress? The buzz around her "Judy" performance exploded at TIFF.
Renée Zellweger
Renée Zellweger

After surprising audiences at the Telluride Film Festival, Rupert Goold’s biographical drama “Judy” exploded onto the scene at the Toronto International Film Festival with a three-minute standing ovation for star Renée Zellweger after the movie’s screening. The rapturous applause for Zellweger left the actress in tears. If the “Judy” premiere at Telluride signaled Oscar buzz for Zellweger, then the “Judy” screening at TIFF was a full blown confirmation that the actress is a favorite to land her fourth Oscar nomination. Zellweger was nominated for Best Actress with “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Chicago” and won the Best Supporting Actress trophy for “Cold Mountain.”

“Judy, ” an adaptation of Peter Quilter’s musical “End of the Rainbow,” stars Zellweger as famed actress and singer Judy Garland during the final months of her life as she is forced to put on a five-week, sold-out concert run at London’s Talk of the Town. IndieWire’s awards expert Anne Thompson wrote out of Telluride that Zellweger’s “moving portrait of Garland on the ropes could land her a movie comeback and a fourth Oscar nomination,” but the TIFF response was even more enthusiastic. Variety’s Janelle Riley wrote on social media that in her 15 years at TIFF she had “never seen a standing ovation like the one for Renee Zellweger at ‘Judy.'”

Buzzfeed senior film reporter Adam B. Vary wrote that Zellweger is “stunning, stunning, stunning” as Garland. “I’m a wreck,” he added. “She is incredible. No hyperbole is possible.” Joey Nolfi of Entertainment Weekly chimed in about the film’s TIFF reaction by writing, “Everyone is fucking crying and ‘Judy’ is a soaring, emotional wallop of a comeback for its star.”

“Renee Zellweger is genuinely astonishing in ‘Judy,'” wrote amNewYork editor in chief Robert Levin. “The movie is built around her and she is the reason to see it. It’s cliched to say that you forget you’re not really watching Judy Garland on screen, but it’s true.”

Roadside Attractions is opening “Judy” in theaters September 27.

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