The actor, who has earned rave reviews for her performance in Judy, appeared on stage at the climax of the film’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and began to shed a tear, joking to the crowd that they should “quit it” as they were “messing up [her] makeup”.
On Twitter, film journalist Jenelle Riley wrote that she had never seen such a prolonged standing ovation for a star in her 15 years of attending the festival. “It only stopped because she made us,” Riley wrote.
After the standing ovation had ended, Zellweger told the audience of her worry about portraying the late Garland. “It’s a different sense of responsibility that you feel to represent things as accurately as you can by digging through the historical and public record of the legacy of Judy’s life,” the actor said.
She continued, “In reading those things and considering the source, I learned a little bit about the [difference] between the person’s true history and the public account, and tried to find the balance in between.”
In 15 years at #TIFF I have never seen a standing ovation like the one for Renee Zellweger at JUDY. I started this about a minute into it and it only stopped because she made us. pic.twitter.com/NGXWLMbDxm— Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley)September 11, 2019
Zellweger has received significant Oscar buzz for her “transformative” performance in the film, which tells the story of Garland’s final run of shows prior to her death in 1969 at the age of 47. Garland appeared for five weeks at London’s Talk of the Town nightclub, performing despite a fraying personal life and declining health.
If Zellweger receives an Oscar nomination for her work, as speculated, it will be her first major awards-season appearance since she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2004 for Cold Mountain.