Renée Zellweger Wins First Golden Globe In 16 Years For ‘Judy,’ Thanking Those Who Have Reminded Her That “The Top Doesn’t Matter”

Matt Grobar

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UPDATED with video from speech: Tonight at the Beverly Hilton, Renée Zellweger won her fourth Golden Globe, for her turn as Judy Garland in Rupert Goold’s Judy.

“Well hi, everybody. It’s nice to see you. You all look pretty good, 17 years later. Thank you to the HFPA for inviting me back to the family reunion, especially with all these extraordinary ladies this year,” Zellweger said. “Your work moves me, and I’ve been cheering for y’all from theater seats for a long time.”

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In her acceptance speech, the actress gave thanks to her “partners in crime”—the people who have reminded her, she says, that “the top doesn’t matter. It’s the journey that matters, and the work that matters.”

Also thanking Goold and her Judy co-stars, including Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock and Rufus Sewell, Zellweger called the drama “one of my great life blessings”—an unforgettable opportunity to celebrate an American legend. “The conversations that I have had with people internationally who just want to express their love for Judy Garland, and tell about the great personal significance of her legacy and her humanity, has been a great reminder that the choices that we make matter,” she said. “What we make matters, and how we choose to honor each other in our lifetimes can matter a great deal down the road.”

A leading contender in the Oscar’s Best Actress race, Zellweger has been recognized throughout the season with nominations at the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the SAG Awards. Named Best Actress by the National Board of Review, Zellweger was also honored recently with the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Desert Palm Achievement Award.

Winning Golden Globes in the past for turns in Nurse Betty(2000), Chicago (2003) and Cold Mountain (2004), the actress was also previously nominated for Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Miss Potter. Tonight at the Globes, Zellweger beat out the likes of Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)—several of which she will likely contend with again at the Oscars.

In Judy—an adaptation of Peter Quilter’s Olivier- and Tony-nominated play, End of the Rainbow—Zellweger portrays Hollywood icon Garland in the final year of her life. Burdened by drug addiction and financial troubles, the performer sets out to London in 1968 for a string of sell-out concerts at The Talk of the Town, in a last-ditch attempt to revive her career.

Distributed by Roadside Attractions, the musical drama has grossed more than $37 million worldwide to date.

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