LOS ANGELES — Though she has been reluctant herself to call it a comeback, Renée Zellweger capped off her return to the awards scene by winning the Oscar for lead actress for her role in “Judy.”

Playing Judy Garland, Zellweger did her own singing and dancing in the film’s depiction of the Hollywood legend’s notorious five-week run of shows at Talk of the Town in London not long before she would die at age 47 in 1969.

This is Zellweger’s second Oscar. She previously won for supporting actress for 2004’s “Cold Mountain” and was nominated for lead actress for both “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Chicago.”

Her performance in “Judy” also earned her the Golden Globe, the SAG Award, the BAFTA, the Spirit Award and numerous other accolades.

From the moment the first photo of Zellweger as Garland was released in March of 2018, the performance seemed tipped for an Oscar. It has been a remarkable awards season run for Zellweger, especially for a film that made barely an awards ripple otherwise, though it did also earn an Oscar nomination for makeup and hairstyling. Directed by Rupert Goold and based on Peter Quilter’s play “End of the Rainbow,” the movie, released by Roadside Attractions, has earned just over $24 million at the domestic box office.

As part of a roundtable conversation for The Envelope, Zellweger spoke of her intensive preparations for the part, saying, “I didn’t know a lot about what she was experiencing at that time in her life. And I felt like a lot that was written about her sort of blanketed that final chapter in tragedy in some way. And I just wanted to understand it better and more deeply.”

After a handful of roles in smaller films, Zellweger shot to fame with 1996’s “Jerry Maguire” and would go on to be among the biggest stars of the early 2000s thanks to the successful “Bridget Jones” movies.

The intersections between the ups and downs of Garland’s own career and Zellweger’s own comings and goings from the spotlight of fame did not go unnoticed. As Times critic Kenneth Turan wrote in his review of the film, “‘Judy’ is not exactly Renee Zellweger’s comeback vehicle, but it might as well be. And delivering a devastating, heartbreaking performance as a woman who made a career out of comebacks is the best kind of poetic justice.”

Also nominated in the category were previous Oscar winner Charlize Theron for “Bombshell,” potential EGOT winner Cynthia Erivo for “Harriet,” double nominee this year Scarlett Johansson for “Marriage Story” and four-time nominee Saoirse Ronan for “Little Women.”


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