Renée Zellweger Wins Best Actress for 'Judy' at 2020 Oscars

Zellweger is the seventh actress in Oscar history to win awards in both lead and support categories.

Renée Zellweger won best actress at the 92nd annual Academy Awards on Sunday (Feb. 9) for her performance as Judy Garland in Judy. This is the second year in a row that a portrayal of a music legend has won an Oscar. Rami Malek took best actor last year for playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

This is only the second time in Oscar history that portrayals of music stars have won in back-to-back years. Jamie Foxx took the 2004 best actor award for playing Ray Charles in Ray. Reese Witherspoon took best actress the following year for playing June Carter Cash in Walk the Line.

Zellweger, who was less than two months old when Garland died in London in June 1969, was generous in saluting the legendary star in her acceptance speech at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

"When we celebrate our heroes, we're reminded of who we are as one people, united. And though Judy did not receive this honor at the time, I am certain that this moment is an extension of the celebration of her legacy that began on our film set. And it is also representative of the fact that her legacy of unique exceptionalism and inclusivity and generosity of spirit transcends any one artistic achievement.

"Miss Garland, you are certainly among the heroes who unite and define us and this is certainly for you."

Garland won a special Academy Award in 1939 for her performance in The Wizard of Oz, but she never won an Oscar in competition. Garland famously lost the 1954 best actress award that many thought would be hers for A Star Is Born to Grace Kelly in The Country Girl. Groucho Marx sent her a telegram saying simply, "Dear Judy, this is the biggest robbery since Brink's."

Zellweger won best supporting actress for Cold Mountain (2003). (Some thought that award was largely a consolation prize for having lost a close race for best actress the year before when she was nominated for Chicago.) Zellweger is the seventh actress in Oscar history to win awards in both lead and support categories. She follows Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange and Cate Blanchett.

The larger-than-life, but all too human Garland is a rich role. Two actresses won Emmys for playing the star in ABC's Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001). Judy Davis won outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or a movie; Tammy Blanchard won the equivalent supporting actress award for playing Garland as a youngster.

2020 Academy Awards

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