Sixteen years after winning the Oscar for “Cold Mountain” (2003), Renee Zellweger has returned to the awards race with a Best Actress nomination for “Judy.” She already won the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice prizes for the role, but where does the Judy Garland biopic fall in with the rest of her filmography? Tour through our photo gallery of Zellweger’s 15 greatest films, ranked worst to best.
The Texas-born actress began her career in commercials and bit parts in films like “Dazed and Confused” and “Reality Bites” plus lead roles in less than acclaimed films such as one of the many Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. She managed to turn that career trajectory around and earned three consecutive Oscar nominations in 2001, 2002 and 2003 for “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” “Chicago,” and “Cold Mountain” respectively. She would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for that latter Civil War drama.
In retrospect and even before that, it was winning the lead in the film “Jerry Maguire” opposite Tom Cruise over many more famous actresses that set Zellweger on the path to stardom. She seemed to have a knack for securing roles that on paper she didn’t seem right for. Her casting as the popular British fiction character Bridget Jones caused doubters to wonder if the American actress could pull off such a uniquely British role, but she won over the British public and press, making the film one of the all-time top grossers in the United Kingdom.
She faced similar doubts when she was cast in the lead in “Chicago” opposite an experienced dancer and singer like Catherine Zeta-Jones. She managed to hold her own there and proved a wise choice by director Rob Marshall since she brought a sly vulnerability to the role that had been played by many much more experienced dancers and singers for many years on Broadway.
SEE Oscars 2020 photo gallery: Every single nominee in all 24 categories
The same was certainly true of “Judy,” which tasked her with slipping into the ruby red slippers of troubled movie star and performing powerhouse Garland. Her latest gamble may soon pay off with a second Oscar victory, not to mention additional wins at SAG and BAFTA.
Original text by Robert Pius.
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