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Renée Zellweger on Judy Garland’s Legacy, Plus: Her Surprising Career Choice Before Acting

Renée Zellweger on Judy Garland’s Legacy, Plus: Her Surprising Career Choice Before Acting

Renée Zellweger is sweeping award season for her performance in “Judy.”

Only “Extra” was backstage at the AARP The Magazine‘s 19th Annual Movies for Grownups Awards after her big win for Best Actress.

Zellweger opened up about why the award was so special to her, saying, “I watched something, an acceptance speech by Gary Oldman, I guess a couple years ago. He was accepting his award and he said, the coolest part about it is he can say, ‘I was there.’ And to be in the company of so many people that have so much history in this industry and to look at all they’ve contributed and the significance of their work and what it means after so many years. It’s very moving, actually. It’s very moving to feel that, 'Ooh, some of these folks are my contemporaries.'”

She added, “It’s surprising to look around and realize so much time has passed in the company of so many fantastic people for so many years. It’s just a very special night.”

Would Renée say her critically acclaimed performance as Judy Garland is one of her favorite movie roles? “It’s different. It’s different than any role I’ve ever done because it didn’t feel like making a film. It felt like a celebration of her legacy… a group of us getting together every day with the materials of her legacy on set, her voice, her music, pictures of her, stories floating around of things that everyone from the different departments had discovered were sharing and everybody was there to express affection and appreciation for her.”

Renée went on, “It didn’t feel like a movie at all. In fact, at times I would forget it was going to come together as something that would be shared eventually. It just felt like this wonderful, quiet, very special life experience that I’ll treasure forever.”

The star admitted acting was actually her Plan B, revealing, “This was actually not on the agenda. I went to UT to write; I was going to be a journalist or writer in some capacity, so this is failure at becoming a journalist.”