Renee Zellweger won best actress at the Oscars for her portrayal of Judy Garland. (Getty)
Renee Zellweger dedicated her Best Actress Oscar to the late Judy Garland, paying tribute to her legacy of inclusivity.
Zellweger took home one of the night’s top awards for her work in Judy, set in the actor’s final years.
Accepting the Oscar, she said that “this past year of conversations celebrating Judy Garland across generations and across cultures has been a really cool reminder that our heroes unite us”.
She pointed out that Garland, though twice-nominated, had never won an Oscar of her own (she was honoured with a special Juvenile Oscar in 1940).
“Judy Garland did not receive this honour in her time,” Zellweger said.
“I am certain that this moment is an extension of the celebration of her legacy that began on our film set and is also representative of the fact that her legacy of unique exceptionalism and inclusivity and generosity of spirit, it transcends any one artistic achievement.
“Ms Garland, you are certainly among the heroes who unite and define us and this is certainly for you. I am so grateful.”
Renee Zellweger explains Judy Garland’s queer appeal.
Since Judy‘s release, Zellweger has been keen to celebrate Garland as an LGBT+ icon.
In October 2019 she told PinkNews that she sees The Wizard of Oz as a crucial part of her legacy.
“It’s a journey back to self and self-realisation and recognising that actually you are enough – a sentiment that in the end is shared by this group of misfits that have found each other and themselves,” she said.
“And that would be indelible, I think, in the eyes of a child who feels somewhat marginalised.”
The actor said that she had considered herself an ally since the age of 17.
“I had a friend who wanted to change his name and his father was quite cruel to him,” she said.
“I didn’t understand because he was so special and such a lovely person that anyone could find any reason not to be anything but proud of being related to him and wanting to celebrate him.”