On April 25, 2019, actress Renee Zellweger will turn 50 years old. The Texas-born actress began her career in commercials and bit parts in films like “Dazed and Confused” and “Reality Bites” plus lead roles in less than acclaimed films such as one of the many Texas Chainsaw Massacre films.
She managed to turn that career trajectory around and earned three consecutive Oscar nominations in 2001, 2002 and 2003 for “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” “Chicago,” and “Cold Mountain” respectively. She would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for that latter Civil War drama.
In retrospect and even before that, it was winning the lead in the film “Jerry Maguire” opposite Tom Cruise over many more famous actresses that set Zellweger on the path to stardom. She seemed to have a knack for securing roles that on paper she didn’t seem right for. Her casting as the popular British fiction character Bridget Jones caused doubters to wonder if the American actress could pull off such a uniquely British role, but she won over the British public and press, making the film one of the all-time top grossers in the United Kingdom.
She faced similar doubts when she was cast in the lead in “Chicago” opposite an experienced dancer and singer like Catherine Zeta-Jones. She managed to hold her own there and proved a wise choice by director Rob Marshall since she brought a sly vulnerability to the role that had been played by many much more experienced dancers and singers for many years on Broadway.
In recent years Zellweger has seemed to drift out of the spotlight taking a six-year break from movie making in between 2010 and 2016. She has begun a return to film, though, and is already creating great anticipation as a possible Oscar nominee as she takes on the role of Judy Garland in an upcoming drama.
Tour our photo gallery above featuring Zellweger’s 15 greatest film performances, ranked from worst to best.
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