"Well, hi everybody, it’s nice to see you. Y’all look pretty good 17 years later," Zellweger joked

By Dave Quinn Georgia Slater
January 05, 2020 11:38 PM

Renée Zellweger had a very golden Sunday night.

At the Golden Globes, the star picked up the award for best actress in a motion picture drama for her role in the film Judy. 

It was a crowded category. Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), were all also up for the prize.

This is Zellweger’s fourth Golden Globe win.

As her role in Judy marks a comeback performance of sorts, the actress spoke about returning to the Hollywood scene in her acceptance speech.

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“Wow, I really am up here. Well, hi everybody, it’s nice to see you. Y’all look pretty good 17 years later,” Zellweger joked. “Thank you to the [Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Globes’ organizing body] for inviting me back to the family reunion, especially with all these extraordinary ladies this year.”

“I mean it, your work moves me. It moves me,” she continued of her fellow nominees. “And I’ve been cheering for y’all from theater seats for a long time.”

Renée Zellweger

She also honored Judy Garland, whom she plays in the film.

“Celebrating one of the great icons of our time with you has been one of my great life blessings,” she said, “and the conversations I’ve 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 humanity has been a great reminder that the choices we make matter, what we make matters, and how we choose to honor each other in our lifetimes can matter a great deal down the road.”

Zellweger won her first Golden Globe back in 2001, for best actress in a motion picture musical or comedy for her role in Nurse Betty. 

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A second, in the same category, came in 2003 for Chicago. A third trophy — in the best supporting actress category — was awarded to Zellweger in 2004 for Cold Mountain (the same part that earned her her first Oscar).

The actress, 50, also earned nominations in 2002 and 2005, for Bridge Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, as well as in 2007, for Miss Potter.

Judy chronicles the final months of Garland’s life, when the famed Wizard of Oz star arrived in London to perform sold-out shows at the Talk of the Town nightclub.

It’s a transformative performance for Zellweger, but the actress still found much in common with Garland.

Reneé Zellweger in Judy
David Hindley /LD Entertainment/ Roadside Attractions

“I have a little bit of understanding about what it’s like to live with a public persona,” Zellweger told PEOPLE in September. “I understand the vast gulf between what is written about that persona and the truth of their life.”

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Last year, Glenn Close took home the Golden Globe in the same category for her role in The Wife. 

Other winners throughout the decade in this category include Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Brie Larson (Room), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) and Natalie Portman (Black Swan).

The category is notable for being the only in Golden Globes history in which a three-way tie occurred when, back in 1989, Jodie Foster (The Accused), Shirley MacLaine (Madame Sousatzka), and Sigourney Weaver (Gorillas in the Mist) all won the award.

The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony aired live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5.

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